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Thread: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

  1. #1
    Registered User Cy V's Avatar
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    Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    I'm not sure what category this falls in. It's not really a blimp. It seems to combine elements of both an airplane and a dirigible.

    Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?-xlarge.jpg

    Not a Blimp, Not a Plane: The Gigantic Aeroscraft Is Ready, and It's Awesome

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    Re: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    I really like the concept. I can see all sorts of applications. Houses built in a factory, then airlifted to site (for example). I do wonder how it will cope with a howling wind though.

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    Moderator Topaz's Avatar
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    Re: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    There have been a few aircraft built to this type. The Northrop design has already flown in prototype form:

    Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?-battle-blimp-04-0812-de.jpg

    It's an airship, but not positively buoyant. It gets some lift from the hull shape, and so requires a bit of a takeoff run. The consequence is that it also requires power to hover, but it makes ground handling a ton easier than a true airship. The one you reference, like the Northrop design and others, is mostly being set up for long-endurance surveillance missions, carrying a radar and other sensors. One program recently got axed, though, so I don't know if this is ever going to actually be procured.

    The Aeros vehicle you've linked to is being built not five miles from my house. There's a pair of old airship hangars on the old Tustin MCAS base that housed blimps during WWII. They're huge, and I mean huge. I have to say I find it a little disturbing to see how loose the outer skin is in these pictures, but I'm looking forward to seeing this thing flying in my sky!
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    Registered User BBerson's Avatar
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    Re: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    Not a new idea. Read this book: Deltoid Pumpkinseed, if you are interested in this concept.
    All airships use some aerodynamic lift. This is just higher aspect ratio .
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    Re: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    Like all airships before it, this thing will be built in maybe one or two examples, will not live up to its expectations, and will fade away....Lets face it how much cargo needs to be hauled via air that contemporary aircraft designs can't do? What is the real advantage here? There really isn't any....Why take a 3 day air cruise to San Fran when you can get there in 5 hours by 747? What benefit militarily does this thing have that a satellite, or drone aircraft can't already accomplish? This thing is another white elephant that will just waste taxpayer money and won't live up to the hype.

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    Registered User bmcj's Avatar
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    Re: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    Interesting, but not new. There have been many others that have touted airships as "new" and "revolutionary", but the basic premise is really no different than the old Zeppelins. Still, I think there is a place for them in today's market, but for pure transport purposes, existing heavier than air airplanes can handle most jobs. I second Topaz comment about the loose skin.

    Here's another similar concept that's been around awhile:

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBerson View Post
    Not a new idea. Read this book: Deltoid Pumpkinseed, if you are interested in this concept.
    All airships use some aerodynamic lift. This is just higher aspect ratio .
    Very true. Even the Goodyear blimp can fly with as much as 800 lbs positive weight (800 lbs negative buoyancy), just by driving it forward and generating lift with the airbag.

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    Registered User Jay Kempf's Avatar
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    Re: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    Seems one of these concepts could be a competitor to some strategic train and truck moves. If it could lift and deliver a large thing from the point of manufacture over all the road restrictions and unload at the jobsite that would be a benefit. Many manufactured products are cut up and figured into over the road standards. Same with over ocean. But you would have to build it competitively and target those hard applications to be successful. Goods shipped in a container can take 30 days to reach the destination, it isn't cheap and most times you have to get into the a container dimensions. The idea of one of these things landing right at the loading parking lot and then delivering the piece to the parking lot at the delivery location seems pretty amazing. There are also a ton of projects where large helicopters lift goods into tricky installations. If a light wind day is picked these sorts of things can be geo stationary for basically little fuel usage. So it might be able to be done cost effectively even working around the weather restrictions.
    Jay K.

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    Re: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    I think it is still a blimp..justa tad more aerodynamic than others.
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    Re: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    I read a lot about blimps and zeppelins, and they have some advantages other kinds of planes don't have, but in the end that is not enough reason to use them. What nobody knows out of experience anymore, is how it feels to be a passenger on a 200+ meter Zeppelin while crossing the ocean. It must be quite an experience to fly at 300 meter, so you can see almost everything happening on the ground! With modern techniques, and weather forecast, it could be a very silent and smooth ride! I'd love to experience that. That I think is the only reason zeppelins should exist :-)
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    Registered User BBerson's Avatar
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    Re: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    Smooth air is rare over any reasonable distance and time.
    Sooner or later, virtually every airship is destroyed by a windstorm.
    Goodyear does well, but they employ a full time crew of around 16, I think. Very costly.
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    Re: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    Very costly indeed, but the really big zeppelins could stand a lot of wind, and they did cross the oceans relatively safe. The size makes the ride smooth, thats what I tried to say, sorry, english is not my native language :-) The Goodyear is just a Blimp which is a big difference with a real Zeppelin, or air-ship. It is size that matters.
    Sacha

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    Registered User BBerson's Avatar
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    Re: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    I think a large percentage of Zeppelins or other large British or American airships were destroyed in storms.
    But I don't have any numbers. The other problem is helium supply is limited.

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    Re: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    It would be clearer if you would give numbers, I don't have them. Numbers were small anyway so statistics can never be significant. Even Hydrogen filled zeppelins during wartime were quite reliable and safe. Helium supply is less of a problem these days, fabrics are much better in permeability, and helium filled airships pollute less quick. They can be operated safe, and I am convinced safer than any airplane. It is just hystory working against these vehicles.
    Sacha

  14. #14
    Registered User BBerson's Avatar
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    Re: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    Well, here is a quote I copied from Wikipedia page talking about the Navy Zeppelin built "Los Angeles"
    "Unlike the ill-fated Akron, Macon, and Shenandoah, the Los Angeles' career did not meet a disastrous end."


    In other words, three of four crashed.

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    Re: Is this an entirely new type or class of aircraft?

    I am not denying that air ships crashed, and for every one there was a good reason. as far as I know the US built 4 of the big ones and could only fly one at the time because there was not enough helium for more. They were unexperienced air ship builders, and operators. The German Hydrogen filled Zeppelins were at the time quite reliable, and operational due to more experience. Some returned to base damaged by hostile fire, leaking hydrogen, not catching fire, for example. Some survived severe storm when docked, or even in flight they could resist bad weather.
    The British werent succesfull eather, flying their ships. BTW crashes were often survivable contrary to a modern plane crash. Even with the Hindenburg there were survivors...
    It is just my dream to be a passenger on a large modern airship built to modern standards, flying at 300 meter. Almost silent, maybe even with an open rear deck, looking at the miniature world below me. An experience far more achievable than some commercial space trip :-)
    I would know what to do if my name was Richard Branson :-)
    But it is only Sacha

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