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Airships:They have serious potential

Updated on July 20, 2017
teflindo profile image

In Asia since early 1996, Wayne taught in local schools, universities and language schools in South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and China.

The Hindenburg disaster

The Hindenburg disaster marked the end of the use of rigid airships in commercial air transportation.
The Hindenburg disaster marked the end of the use of rigid airships in commercial air transportation. | Source

Lives changed, lives saved

When you can land fully equipped medical centers in remote areas, when you can bring schools, facilities and educators almost anywhere ... think of the lives saved, the health care provided, and the improvement in the standard of living. Think of the student exchanges(a benefit for regular students and the communities they visit) When research can be done in the field with a state-of-the-art lab. When this happens we will have grasped the real potential of these amazing vehicles.

Airships and their potential

Airships aspire to do what cars,trucks, airplanes and helicopters have done for years; move people and supplies from one place to one or more places. Airships have the potential to do these tasks in single trips, using less fuel, and doing them with style.

Earthbound communication platforms

The curvature of our Earth requires that we bounce signals off of satellites, beaming the signal back to earth. These signals form the basis of modern communication. Do we need to build stations in space, or launch satellites?

Airships could be used to gather, bounce and send signals. Small communities, universities and medical centers could have secure, dedicated floating 'satellites'. In remote places this could eliminate the need for expensive infrastructure. Over-ocean platforms could facilitate ship to ship and ship to shore communication in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner.

Medical clinics and full hospitals

In an emergency, the infected, the injured or dying, can not wait two weeks for a large ship. Nations,NGOs and large organizations could keep mobile hospitals running with ongoing efforts to bring regular medical and dental care to remote communities. In the event of emergencies these clinics and hospitals could be re-tasked as needed. These could be pharmacies, out-patient treatment and even community health-services.

Hospitals and clinics could land and be ready to go as soon as patients arrive, or just bring them aboard. Battle casualties, survivors of disasters(natural and man-made), and victims of large-scale events could be treated immediately.

Aeroscraft is designed by Worldwide Aeros Corp

© REX/Areos  The Airship being tested
© REX/Areos The Airship being tested | Source

Schools

A floating school is likely to bring to mind Sky High, and that's as understandable as it is wrong. A floating/flying school offers the opportunity to truly provide a global education. Travel to school? No school close to you? Communities with inadequate facilities? We will be able to bring a fully equipped staff and school anywhere. Regular classes. Interconnected facilities. field trips. Studying migration patterns? Then study migration patterns. Lessons in languages, science, math, history and classes on culture and international relations take on a whole new dimension.

Admittedly floating a school(figuratively and literally) is not a viable long term project. Airships could lift containers to any location. These containers could be re-purposed, given new life, and new intent, or prefabricated as needed.

Hybrid Airship

P-791 Hybrid Airship
P-791 Hybrid Airship | Source

A look at an airship inside and out

P-791 Hybrid Air Vehicle

P-791 Skycat-HD

Tortoise or the Hare?

Would you travel by airship?

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Light Flights


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Planes,Airships and Automobiles(and trucks too)

(click column header to sort results)
Planes  
Airships  
Land Vehicles  
They are big and fast and amazingly versatile
Big, comfortable, amazing lift capacity and able to land almost anywhere.
They have incredible potential in a lot of areas, whether private,commercial or military. Small, big, and freaking ginormous. One person or a crew to drive, carry,ship, transport almost anywhere a road can be built.
They need runways to land. The bigger they are, the more prepared surface they need.
All the answers are not in. What are the longterm realities of cost and performance.
Cars use a lot of fuel. They get stuck in traffic. They generally need roads and bridges.
This is the current go to choice for large shipping,fast travel and quick military response.
Sometimes,"We don't need roads, or runways, where we're going.' to misquote Doc Brown.
We have used cars for over a hundred years, longer if we accept them as the direct descendents of ancient land vehicles. Whether controlled or driver-less, vehicles are part of our lives.

Transportation

Hotels, Eco-tourism, and Whale watching

Hotel

A floating hotel. Sleeping above the ocean and then breakfast above the rainforest canopy.

Eco-tourism

A way to see and experience the world without causing damage. Watch tigers from a silent, safe vantage. Experience a village in Thailand, Tibet or Myanmar. Journey above the streets of Paris or New York.

Whale watching

Watch a pod of Orcas. Observe humpbacks as they breach and play. Watch a blue whale on her journey to give birth.

Scientific purposes

Field research is not a new thing. Scientists and researchers have gone in the field almost as long as there have been scientists, researchers and fields.

Laboratories

The creativity, efficiency and utility of mobile laboratories for research and study becomes paramount as our need to learn about and understand our planet becomes a matter of survival.

Geology in the field, as samples can be taken. The effects of climate, human encroachment, industrialization, as well as climate change, can be studied. Academic, corporate and scientific needs can be addressed.

Meteorology takes on a new face as we are able to have labs that can assess weather, and accurately predict storms and disasters, as well as assessing the impact of climate change on weather patterns and transportation. To have an early warning system that could redirect. These airships would need to be built to take a battering.

Oceanography labs would allow a careful study in better labs without size restrictions or sea-sickness.

Airship Labs will have a positive impact on the study and understanding of geography, traffic,cartography,photography,air quality,animal behavior, and of course climate change. A small lab hovers silently over a pride of lions for three weeks. Similar labs observe icebergs, smog, and another monitors and compares traffic patterns in Jakarta, Toronto, Boise, Essex and Changsha.

Making a positive difference

Food transport

There are areas in remote locations that do not have reliable sources of food. Many of the distant islands in Indonesia,communities in rural China, as well as large under-populated areas Northern Canada have to bring in food, water and milk and pay exorbitant prices for the privilege of eating healthy. In fact there are communities in large cities that don't have access to these facilities. The flying supermarket would make regular transport possible and cost effective.

Housing

Airships could lift containers to any location. These containers could be re-purposed, or prefabricated as needed. These could be short-term solutions or the basic infrastructure for viable communities.

Clean Water

The technology and the experts could be brought in to assess a communities' needs and either set up a working filtration/sewage treatment system, or create usable home-based solutions.

Disaster relief

A tsunami wipes out communities and the devastated survivors face homelessness,disease,starvation and a long process of rebuilding shattered lives. Imagine containers, clinics, sanitation and medical facilities going directly to these locations. Long waits are not an issue. No convoys waiting to be picked clean before they arrive.

Search and rescue

Lost hikers. Skiers after an avalanche. Lost ships, or downed planes. Lost children.

Animal relocation

Wolves, deer, lions,tigers and bears lifted up and brought to safer environments. Culling becomes a tragedy of the past. Beached whales, move them back into the ocean. Dolphin pods moved out of harms' way. Elephants,gorillas,giraffes and rhinos removed from poachers' reach.

Energy

In 1941 Isaac Asimov presented the idea of space stations and satellites absorbing solar radiation, converting it to microwaves, and beaming the energy back to earth. These power stations were a futuristic vision then. Now they could be our reality. Do we need to build stations in space, or launch satellites?

As far as advancing our technology and creating jobs, stations and satellites are not bad ideas, but we have a more Earth-centric solution as hand. Build airships as floating solar farms. Do basically the same thing Asimov proposed in 1941, just not in space.

Looking Forward

Boeing JHL-40 Heavy-Lift Rotorcraft

So spooky, it's cool
So spooky, it's cool | Source

The players

  • Hybrid Air Vehicles in the U.K. has partnered with Northrop Grumman owns a prototype that came out of the LEMV project and plans to build a 50-ton capacity airship in about five years.
  • Skycrane GP-100-25 Cargo Transport
  • Lockheed Martin has a P-791 / SkyTug prototype derived from the LEMV program and hopes to build a SkyFreighter to lift a 70-ton cargo.
  • Boeing JHL-40 Heavy-Lift Rotorcraft Is Massive Floating Crane
  • Aeroscraft. Aeros ML866 (66 ton payload) and ML868 (250 ton) configurations.

A concept video from The University of Huddersfield

M's Airship from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Powered by Cavorite, this airship laid waste to London's Eastend.
Powered by Cavorite, this airship laid waste to London's Eastend. | Source

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    • teflindo profile image
      Author

      Wayne Duplessis 23 months ago from Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia

      Thank you Mel

      I'm pleased that you found it interesting

      I'll do my best to provide more

      Regards, Wayne

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 23 months ago from San Diego California

      I had thought airships were dead, but I see that is far from through. We shouldn't let one horrible accident ground the whole technology forever. Think of how many jet crashes we have had, but the airlines are still flying. Great hub.

    • teflindo profile image
      Author

      Wayne Duplessis 23 months ago from Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia

      Thank you Larry

      Regards,Wayne

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 23 months ago from Oklahoma

      Very interesting overview.