Aeroscraft is updating the airship and hopes to bring major changes to freight shipping. The future of airships or a UFO? (Photo from Aeroscraft)
You know what people never get nostalgic for? Blimps. At one point they were seen as the future of air travel, but disasters such as the Hindenburg accident saw their popularity decrease. And as airplanes improved, they soon took over the skies. Now, if you see a blimp it usually has some banner advertisement attached to it. The Van Wagner group, an airship organization, estimates there are only 25 blimps in operation. Igor Pasternak wants to change this and has a plan to make blimps viable again.
Pasternack, who studies airships in his spare time, made a breakthrough in zeppelin technology in the form of the COSH system – Control of Static Heaviness. It works by rapidly compressing helium into storage tanks, which make the airship heavier than air. This would allow airships to land on any flat area where they can enter without relying on ground teams. It also increases their versatility while it reduces cost.
But even Pasternak knows blimps won’t take over passenger airlines, mainly because they’re so slow. He does think these airships can bring changes to freight shipping. Pasternak and his company, Worldwide Aeros Corp, is working on a prototype of an airship, dubbed the Aeroscraft. This new airships can haul up to 66 tons at a speed of 120 knots and a range of over 5000 miles. The company also hopes to work on a larger version that hauls 250 tons.
Though the airship will be three times as fuel efficient as shipping in airplanes, it won’t be as efficient as land or sea shipping. Still, the company thinks it’ll be a breakthrough for cargo shipping. They even think it could have some limited passenger applications. Aeros representative John Kiehle says the airship can be used for tourist trips and it may even have a practical use for passengers in rural areas.
Seems like Pasternak isn’t the only one reimaging blimps. A similar project started by Google dubbed Project Loon, uses a network of balloons to provide internet access to people in remote and rural areas. The balloons travel along the edge of space and transmit high-speed internet to the nearest balloon from their telecommunications partners on the ground. It’s then sent back down to users on the ground. Recently, Project Loon helped restore internet and signals to Puerto Rico after their devastating hurricane.
So, while you shouldn’t expect to fly home for the holidays on a blimp, you may start seeing them in the skies more, and this time they won’t be flying cheesy banners behind them.
Hmm… Luxury flights on a dirigible? Like in The Last Crusade? I’m all for it.
Have a story tip? Message me at: cabe(at)element14(dot)com