New Airship Designs Are More Than Just a Lot of Hot Air
It’s not going to replace the 747, but it looks like the airships may be making a comeback.
As the search intensifies for transportation not reliant on petroleum-based fuel, several companies are promoting a new generation of airship technology. A British Company called SkyCat is licensing its heavy-lift airship design; and the Zeppelin NT, built with proceeds from the Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin endowment, recently completed its maiden flight.
On its website, the American Blimp Corporation provides a basic explanation of how airships work. Non-rigid airships, known as blimps, are members of the Lighter than Air family of aircraft, a category that also includes hot air balloons. They have no wings and no structure within their envelope, only air and helium, gases which allow an airship to retain its shape and creates buoyant lift.