Monday, May 21, 2012

Luxury Airship?

Via a commenter, Tomorrow's Airship -- Today. (On paper.)

Stop wasting that helium in toy balloons: we could have the real thing!


Anonymous said...

Did you read the diagram listing at end? BUNGEE JUMPING PLATFORM?!?! JohninMd(help?). o_O

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Interesting idea, and I like that people do put these things out for people to think about, but this particular conceptual design just doesn't do it for me.

1) The skylounge is a nice idea, but I would lay out the remaining passenger areas more horizontally, with the Groundview restaurant at the bow and observation rooms/other entertainment running along the perimeter of the aircraft in windowed compartments. Do the same thing for the passenger suites. Maximizing the opportunities for passengers to have a good view seems like a better idea, to me.

2) The bridge location seems to me to create an issue where the captain and pilot have little to no side and aft visibility. Drop the bridge down a little into a more traditional gondola with 360 degree visibility (or close to it), so they don't have to rely on cameras in an emergency.

3) The propulsion design doesn't seem like it would be effective. An airship needs significant thrust vectoring capability, which this configuration doesn't seem to allow for, and that ginormous shroud around the main engine seems like a lot of extra weight for little return (though the implied impeller type design might allow for lower engine speeds and noise reduction while cruising, which is good for both fuel efficiency and patient comfort).

I do like the angled airframe design, though. It's a good place to start.

Sport Pilot said...

Clearly innovative and unique indeed but aside from the absence of hydrogen is it any safer than the Zeppelins of old? I understand the importance of the exterior rigid hull but still question the overall long term feasibility as a passenger vessel.

Dave H said...

Concept artists don't worry about things like whether the pilot can see or that a 500 ton pool of water above the center of gravity is going to play hell with balance. They're more interested in showing (to borrow Borepatch's term) SWPL.

I'd love to see more LTA craft in use. I'd just rather see them designed by proper aeronautical engineers and designers. (Getting some cruise ship architects involved would be good too.)

I think they could be safer than Zeppelins. The big killer of last century's airships was weather. Our weather tracking, communication, and forecasting is much better now, making it possible to avoid dangerous weather, while more powerful craft would have a better chance of evading it.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Hey, I grew up around Akron, Ohio. The Airship Hanger is STILL in use by Lockeed- Martin. Goodyear Aerospace has a smaller Hanger down the road at Wingfoot Lake for their Blimps.

Of course, this will never get off the ground, because some "Occupyiers" will Protest about the Money be WASTED for the Use of the Elite Class. THEN we'll still have to deal with the TSA, and of course, Al-Queda will try to destroy it as a "Symbol of the Great Satan."

But man oh man, I'd still buy the Ticket!

Carl-Bear said...

I'm holding out for a Cassid LTA orbital shuttle (Bargaining Position and Caveat Emptor).

Keads said...

Besides the shortage of Helium, I think it is a great idea. Hell, the Hindenburg had a smoking room on it!

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Thinking about it, I bet there would be a better market for airships as private yachts than as luxury liners. The people who can afford yachts would easily be able to afford an airship version, and wouldn't depend on the tourist trade to keep it running.

Another good idea would be to set it up to "land" at water ports as well as airfields. The flexibility would benefit both the yacht and passenger liner versions.

And I still say it sucks that the zeppelin dock on the Empire State building was a bust.