Yes...it's true...we at EcoGeek have a little crush on airships. They're elegant, efficient, and exciting and require very little infrastructure. We can't help talking about them whenever they hit the news. Airships have the potential to be more efficient than airplanes, cars, and even passenger trains and barges.
In a carbon-conscious world, passenger flight is difficult to rationalize. But we've got to get from point A to point B. There are births, funerals, weddings, and graduations to attend. Right now, there is no alternative to traditional heavier-than-air travel.
Here are a few airships that have a good chance at changing that:
Aeroscraft comes in first because it seems both more ambitious and farther along than others. They have several projects in development, most importantly including safety and stability when the craft is not moving. As lighter-than-air (LTA) craft are completely subject to the weather when not under their own propulsion, low-speed control is a big deal, and Aeroscraft has that in its sights.
Their current project under development is a small airship designed to be a luxury cabin for the uber-wealthy, or a commercial transport for tourism (complete with glass-bottom.) Neither of these are particularly environmental but both are significant steps to larger projects.
While SkyCat has a less impressive marketing department, their initiative is nonetheless impressive. Already, a working 1/6-scale mockup (the skykitten) has been produced and flown (by remote control.) The mockup was a success, and their first prototype airship (the SkyCat 20) (capable of lifting 20 tons) is already under construction and slated to be operational in 2009.
SkyCat is focusing primarily on shipping, at least in the beginning, hoping to fill the gap between high-speed (expensive) air freight and low-speed (cheap) ground freight.
Another airship company (obviously) focusing on freight is Canada's SkyFreighter. They started out as part of a U.S. Defense project for an amphibious LTA craft (the Walrus Program). But now they're looking at both military and commercial possibilities. Unfortunately, it looks as if they're stuck at the engineering level. Since the Walrus program was cancelled, their funding has stalled.
But they're still planning for a possible U.S. to Canada LTA shipping route. A lot of money has gone into designing and engineering the SkyFreighter, we'd hate to see it die. But with competition like Aeroscraft and SkyCat, they're gonna have to fight to stay alive.
And this is a promotional video from Aeroscraft, no working prototypes yet, but it gives you an idea of how comparatively pleasant this would be:
And, a slightly broken news clip of from Aeroscraft:
written by Spencer Lindsay, December 11, 2007
written by zepplin lover, December 11, 2007
written by Alex, December 12, 2007
written by James Asudi, May 15, 2008
written by Jennifer, June 05, 2008
written by Nostradome, December 21, 2008
|< Prev||Next >|