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Whale-like Aeroscraft ML866 to make Aviation history

Updated on August 11, 2007

This year, at the NBAA 60th Annual Meeting and Convention in Atlanta, a giant shall take flight. The Aerocraft ML866 blimp/cargo plane is scheduled to take its maiden voyage on that day, and if you haven’t heard about it, I’m sure you will. The creators are calling it “the fourth type of aircraft”, and is the size of three football fields.

Even though the Aeros (as it seems to be nicknamed) looks like a blimp on steroids, it uses a combination of buoyant and dynamic lift to achieve its takeoff. I’m not certain how much helium is involved, but there will apparently be no infrastructure involved, In other words, no runway or landing platform is needed, just a big piece of land. The Aeros brags that most of its interior will be used for cargo space, instead of the little passenger cockpits that most blimps have these days.

In fact, cargo space seems to be its big selling point. The Aeros has enough space for 5,000 square feet, and has a front door that opens up all the way. Many are saying that while a ship takes days to unload, the Aeros can be unloaded in a matter of hours.

The actual speed of the Aeros is a slow 120 knots (110 miles per hour), but if you’re on an interior that’s this comfortable, what’s the hurry? Transport may not only be the reason to build an Aeros. One of the proposed Aeroscraft ML 866 is scheduled to offer an automated office, video conferencing facility, a sophisticated communications packaged, transformable interior, a personal state room, and a physical conference space.

I don’t know about you, but I can easily imagine a world where the skies are populated with many Aeros. After all, our big megacities are running out of space, and the only way to go with office building real estate is up. By the way, the maximum altitude is about 8,000 feet. I once the Empire State Building’s tower was originally built to moor airships, and perhaps its time it got some use.

Unfortunately, I see a near-present world where only the super-rich could afford these Aeros, like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Maybe then they would meet in the air and have wars on their Aeros. That would be a battle to see.

I was only able to obtain one photograph. This seems strange, because as I write this, the Aeroscraft ML866 is scheduled to take off in one month. Considering that all I’m seen is computer graphics to show me how cool it is, I would probably expect a delay.

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