Airships are coming, slowly. Both as Commercial and Military heavy lifters through to commercial traffic – replacing airlines and acting as flying hotels. Personally, as I’ve said before, I can’t wait. Just hurry up and build the things.
Quite a few countries are on in the lighter than air act. The British have the many models of the Skycat, 200 to 1000 tonne lifters.
Russians have the Golden Eagle series of airships, Golden eagle YET, Golden eagle ML, Golden eagle HL.
A German Swizz group, Prospective Concepts AG, has the Stingray. Which has to be a serious contender for the strangest looking airship ever:
What were they thinking? Unexpectedly, a South African company called Hamilton Airship is to fly a 44 metre prototype this year as well.
America is also in on the game, and perhaps in partnership with the British. This is Lockheed Martin’s Airship concept, once called the Aerostat:
The airship project is under development by Lockheeds Skunk Works division, who developed the SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 Stealth fighter. A test flight was done in February this year of the prototype P-791, which seems to be based on the British SkyCat. Similar design and the same landing gear.
I Googled for pictures of the test flight but all I could find was the following single picture:
So what does all this mean? Airships are a slow growing reality, Aeros has made recent press announcments revealing not only the intention to provide worldwide airship travel but they are on the internal design stage.
â€œWorldwide Aeros is center stage in developing a radically new transportation infrastructure â€“ Aeroscraft airships — that will carry leisure travelers and cargos across vast oceans to remote locations. To design the interiors of those airships, weâ€™ve chosen the worldâ€™s leading design consultant for the hospitality and leisure industries, namely WATG.â€
According to Howard J. Wolff, senior vice president of WATG, â€œThe Aeroscraft will revolutionize leisure travel. Our designs for airborne travelers will rival the luxury cabins of the worldâ€™s greatest ocean liners and will feature all the latest technological amenities. This remarkable new form of transportation will appeal to millions of retiring baby boomers who are interested in luxurious and unique travel experiences.â€
And the future? Will all this come to pass? Who knows, it depends on the money guys and the publics willingness to board airships.