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Clean Transport Solar Airship

Published on July 28th, 2009 | by Bryan Nelson

99

Solar Blimp to Fly from NYC to Paris, Rests on Land or Water

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July 28th, 2009 by
 
Solar Airship

A Spanish company called Turtle Airships is working on plans to build a luxurious solar-powered blimp which can take passengers from New York to Paris.

Perhaps the only thing cooler than being powered by lightweight photovoltaic cells, this airship is also designed to rest on land or water.

The first blimp prototype will be propelled in two nontraditional ways. The outside of the ship will be covered with Cadmium-Indium-Germanium (CIG) photovoltaic cells, picked for their their light weight. The cells should generate enough power to move the blimp at around 40 mph in average conditions, or at around 70 horsepower. Meanwhile, a diesel drivetrain will generate the rest of the power, and ideally the designers will look to an adapted hybrid electric model for that. And because blimps fly at low altitudes, they don’t have to deal with problems that plague diesel engines at elevations over 30,000 ft.

The only thing currently keeping this visionary project from flying is funding. But Turtle Airships hopes that will change after the completion of a genuine prototype that will demonstrate the project’s viability to funders. “Our goal in flying this remote control model is to get some video of it onto the Web and hopefully attract some financing that will enable us to move on from there to a genuine, manned, demonstration model of a Turtle Airship,” said one spokesperson.

The folks at Turtle Airships don’t like calling their aircraft a ‘blimp’: “It is a rigid shelled, amphibious, solar powered, all weather, FAST aircraft that is lifted by helium, but it is not a blimp.”

Even so: it’s a blimp.

Though that doesn’t take anything away from the ingenuity of its design. Their idea is certainly not one short on vision. And who wouldn’t want to take a transatlantic ride on a flying luxury cruise ship powered by sunshine?

Nasty memories of the Hindenburg aside, it may not be long before passengers are flying comfortably from New York to Paris– and beyond– aboard Turtle Airships.

Source: Wired

Image via Millenium Airship

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About the Author

has been making up for lost time since finishing his graduate degree in Philosophy by traveling and working to change the world. He has worked with groups like The Sierra Club, Environment America & U.S. PIRG, Environment Oregon & OSPIRG, and Progressive Future on local and national political campaigns. His environmental journalism can be found throughout the web, which also includes regular contributions to MNN.com. Between adventure and activism, he currently can be found doing freelance writing from his home in Hawaii.



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  • http://gomakesolarpanels.com/ Make Solar Panels

    Using airships like this for passenger travel would be an interesting novelty to garner attention for the project, but if they can get the company off the ground I think it could be more profitable to use them as an alternative to trucks for shipping goods.

  • Hah

    @ Dave E.: The definition of a blimp that you presented from merriam-webster.com has the EXACT same meaning as the one in dictionary.com, just with different wording. Another way of saying that it maintains it’s form from gas pressure is that it maintains it’s form from gas alone without support structures…AKA non-rigid. Annnnnd since this airship maintains it’s shape with a rigid support structure and not through gas alone then…no, it’s NOT a blimp. Nice try at being condescending though.

    @Amateur6 and @Hann: It was most likely a combination of both. Helium IS flammable, but not easy to ignite. The Hindenburg was painted with a substance that, upon review, closely resembled modern day rocket fuel. So likely the fire started on the surface but the extreme heat lit the helium as well. Telltale that the surface had a lot to do with it though, is that helium burns blue and the hindenburg burned red.

    @ Thomas and those commenting on flight time and amount that can be carried…I would think of this more like train travel. According to press people would stay in personal state rooms like a hotel. And the amount that can be carried depends on how big you make the airship. I mean, if you make one large enough you could float a casino around. And who wouldn’t love to float hundreds of feet over the earth burning through your savings?

    @ The person citing safety. Airships fly at very low altitudes (at least compared to conventional aircraft). And their rides are so smooth, with so little turbulence apparent, that the FAA doesn’t even require seat-belts for passengers.

    @ Thomas again…cost of flight should be VERY cheap. Planes have to force their way through the air and thus burn a lot of fuel. Cruises have to push their massive bulks through the water, also burning incredible amounts of fuel (though less per passenger mile than planes). An airship on the other hand operates by being as light as the air surrounding it. Meaning that it simply has to deal with air resistance, which is minimal. Plus they said they wanted to use mostly electric power, which is certainly feasible with the surface area available for solar panels.

    @all. Just because it’s revisiting an old idea doesn’t mean it’s a bad one. There could be some very real benefits to this mode of travel.

  • Hah

    @ Dave E.: The definition of a blimp that you presented from merriam-webster.com has the EXACT same meaning as the one in dictionary.com, just with different wording. Another way of saying that it maintains it’s form from gas pressure is that it maintains it’s form from gas alone without support structures…AKA non-rigid. Annnnnd since this airship maintains it’s shape with a rigid support structure and not through gas alone then…no, it’s NOT a blimp. Nice try at being condescending though.

    @Amateur6 and @Hann: It was most likely a combination of both. Helium IS flammable, but not easy to ignite. The Hindenburg was painted with a substance that, upon review, closely resembled modern day rocket fuel. So likely the fire started on the surface but the extreme heat lit the helium as well. Telltale that the surface had a lot to do with it though, is that helium burns blue and the hindenburg burned red.

    @ Thomas and those commenting on flight time and amount that can be carried…I would think of this more like train travel. According to press people would stay in personal state rooms like a hotel. And the amount that can be carried depends on how big you make the airship. I mean, if you make one large enough you could float a casino around. And who wouldn’t love to float hundreds of feet over the earth burning through your savings?

    @ The person citing safety. Airships fly at very low altitudes (at least compared to conventional aircraft). And their rides are so smooth, with so little turbulence apparent, that the FAA doesn’t even require seat-belts for passengers.

    @ Thomas again…cost of flight should be VERY cheap. Planes have to force their way through the air and thus burn a lot of fuel. Cruises have to push their massive bulks through the water, also burning incredible amounts of fuel (though less per passenger mile than planes). An airship on the other hand operates by being as light as the air surrounding it. Meaning that it simply has to deal with air resistance, which is minimal. Plus they said they wanted to use mostly electric power, which is certainly feasible with the surface area available for solar panels.

    @all. Just because it’s revisiting an old idea doesn’t mean it’s a bad one. There could be some very real benefits to this mode of travel.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F6XL434VJ5DKHJAZPIF3ZGW4WY Trevor

      You’re right, it’s not a blimp, it’s a zeppelin.

      However, you’re wrong. The Hindenburg was filled with HYDROGEN, which is Highly flammable, not helium, helium is a safe lifting gas. Also the Hindenburg was not painted with “something akin to rocket fuel,” in fact, it was a relatively safe paint with aluminum to slow down seepage of the gas. No one yet knows why the Hindenburg fire started, we do know the Hydrogen is what made it so deadly, but the best question to ask is, how can we prevent All fires from occurring during airship travel, and minimize their impact if they do start?

      Also, the cost of flight will be HUGE, because, Helium is a VERY expensive gas, and, it seeps out over time, so it must be continually refilled. And it mentioned it would be used for luxury trips, not mass transit, further increasing the price.

      It’s a cool idea though, and I’d love to see those flying around my neighborhood

  • Alex

    This sounds amazing, yes, storms might be a problem but they definitely haven’t gotten this far without taking that into account.

    As to whether or not it’s a blimp, it doesn’t matter, just shut up and stop complaining that somebody calls it a blimp and/or disagrees with you.

    As for the hindenburg, it was actually a combination of the hydrogen and the flammable shell. This won’t end up like the hindenburg because nobody is stupid enough to use hydrogen in something like this, even the germans weren’t that stupid, they just didn’t have enough helium because of an embargo.

  • Alex

    This sounds amazing, yes, storms might be a problem but they definitely haven’t gotten this far without taking that into account.

    As to whether or not it’s a blimp, it doesn’t matter, just shut up and stop complaining that somebody calls it a blimp and/or disagrees with you.

    As for the hindenburg, it was actually a combination of the hydrogen and the flammable shell. This won’t end up like the hindenburg because nobody is stupid enough to use hydrogen in something like this, even the germans weren’t that stupid, they just didn’t have enough helium because of an embargo.

    • Cazzameg

      Helium does not have as much lift as hydrogen , thats why hydrogen was used

  • http://besthemorrhoidtreatment.us Real

    Hope they don’t end up like Hindenburg did.

  • http://besthemorrhoidtreatment.us Real

    Hope they don’t end up like Hindenburg did.

  • http://besthemorrhoidtreatment.us Real

    Hope they don’t end up like Hindenburg did.

  • ian

    At blimp altitudes the winds over the atlantic get up to hundreds of miles per hour.

    Drones are gonna go nuts when they see it, it’s huge.

    Not to mention if a pack of migrating birds come to it’s level to see it they’re gonna peck the c**p out of it when they have a rest

    Also the temperature fluxes can be huge in that region.

    Squalls and vertical winds will finish this bug**r off to make sure it only manages a few hundred miles.

  • ian

    At blimp altitudes the winds over the atlantic get up to hundreds of miles per hour.

    Drones are gonna go nuts when they see it, it’s huge.

    Not to mention if a pack of migrating birds come to it’s level to see it they’re gonna peck the c**p out of it when they have a rest

    Also the temperature fluxes can be huge in that region.

    Squalls and vertical winds will finish this bug**r off to make sure it only manages a few hundred miles.

  • Rocky Fisher

    Please Hann, do not perpetuate the mistruths of the Hydrogen industry. It was not the materials on the outside, this has been proven to be untrue. This and other, more outlandish lies are spewed by certain individuals who sell Hydrogen related products. It is pretty crazy.

    Hydrogen is a super Flammable gas, do you think it played no role in a massive fire and explosion? Come on, we learn in grade eight science that Hydrogen is highly flammable. Even Mythbusters busted it.

    http://www.airships.net/hindenburg/disaster/myths

    http://mythbustersresults.com/episode70

  • Rocky Fisher

    Please Hann, do not perpetuate the mistruths of the Hydrogen industry. It was not the materials on the outside, this has been proven to be untrue. This and other, more outlandish lies are spewed by certain individuals who sell Hydrogen related products. It is pretty crazy.

    Hydrogen is a super Flammable gas, do you think it played no role in a massive fire and explosion? Come on, we learn in grade eight science that Hydrogen is highly flammable. Even Mythbusters busted it.

    http://www.airships.net/hindenburg/disaster/myths

    http://mythbustersresults.com/episode70

  • Rocky Fisher

    Please Hann, do not perpetuate the mistruths of the Hydrogen industry. It was not the materials on the outside, this has been proven to be untrue. This and other, more outlandish lies are spewed by certain individuals who sell Hydrogen related products. It is pretty crazy.

    Hydrogen is a super Flammable gas, do you think it played no role in a massive fire and explosion? Come on, we learn in grade eight science that Hydrogen is highly flammable. Even Mythbusters busted it.

    http://www.airships.net/hindenburg/disaster/myths

    http://mythbustersresults.com/episode70

  • Rocky Fisher

    Please Hann, do not perpetuate the mistruths of the Hydrogen industry. It was not the materials on the outside, this has been proven to be untrue. This and other, more outlandish lies are spewed by certain individuals who sell Hydrogen related products. It is pretty crazy.

    Hydrogen is a super Flammable gas, do you think it played no role in a massive fire and explosion? Come on, we learn in grade eight science that Hydrogen is highly flammable. Even Mythbusters busted it.

    http://www.airships.net/hindenburg/disaster/myths

    http://mythbustersresults.com/episode70

  • http://www.flyingcruiseships.blogspot.com campbell

    Hello. Darrell Campbell here, CEO of Turtle Airships. A flight from New York to Paris on board a Turtle Airship will take approximately (1) full day.

    The shape of a Turtle Airship is not determined by gas pressure; it is a solid, rigid SHELL hulled craft.

    The airship uses TWO means of propulsion: Solar, which is used for slow speeds of approximately 40-80mph. And bio-diesel fueled JET engines that enable the airships to reach much higher speeds 150-250mph.

    We welcome any conversations, questions about our airships.

  • http://www.flyingcruiseships.blogspot.com campbell

    Hello. Darrell Campbell here, CEO of Turtle Airships. A flight from New York to Paris on board a Turtle Airship will take approximately (1) full day.

    The shape of a Turtle Airship is not determined by gas pressure; it is a solid, rigid SHELL hulled craft.

    The airship uses TWO means of propulsion: Solar, which is used for slow speeds of approximately 40-80mph. And bio-diesel fueled JET engines that enable the airships to reach much higher speeds 150-250mph.

    We welcome any conversations, questions about our airships.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F6XL434VJ5DKHJAZPIF3ZGW4WY Trevor

      I love your idea, and the concept art.

      But, just a day to cross the Atlantic? Please slow things down a bit more, airships are meant for majestic voyages, not a slightly slower alternative to giant noisy jets (at least in my opinion).

      Have you considered using a bio-matter steam engine to power propellers, instead of a Jet engine? That would slow things down more, and be carbon neutral for the environment too.

      If you don’t do it, I will (in the future). I think the world needs to slow things down a bit.

      Also, how did you get started? I’m an aspiring entrepreneur in the airship industry, hoping to start a company myself one day.

  • http://www.rentinaix.com Aix

    Yes it will take a very long time to travel but it would probably end up being just like a cruise ship. you would spend several hours up to several days however you are flying at low altitudes so it wont be a view of clouds the entire time. Also i am sure that there will be things to do on the vessel just like there would be on a cruise ship. With technology moving at the rate that it is, by the time something like this would be released they will come up with ways to generate more power for it and make it lighter at well as faster. And one last thing, it is made for luxury and not speed.

  • http://www.rentinaix.com Aix

    Yes it will take a very long time to travel but it would probably end up being just like a cruise ship. you would spend several hours up to several days however you are flying at low altitudes so it wont be a view of clouds the entire time. Also i am sure that there will be things to do on the vessel just like there would be on a cruise ship. With technology moving at the rate that it is, by the time something like this would be released they will come up with ways to generate more power for it and make it lighter at well as faster. And one last thing, it is made for luxury and not speed.

  • http://www.rentinaix.com Aix

    Yes it will take a very long time to travel but it would probably end up being just like a cruise ship. you would spend several hours up to several days however you are flying at low altitudes so it wont be a view of clouds the entire time. Also i am sure that there will be things to do on the vessel just like there would be on a cruise ship. With technology moving at the rate that it is, by the time something like this would be released they will come up with ways to generate more power for it and make it lighter at well as faster. And one last thing, it is made for luxury and not speed.

  • wtf

    Spanish? that is BS… Spain doen’t even make cars!!

  • wtf

    Spanish? that is BS… Spain doen’t even make cars!!

  • wtf

    Spanish? that is BS… Spain doen’t even make cars!!

  • wtf

    Spanish? that is BS… Spain doen’t even make cars!!

  • wtf

    Spanish? that is BS… Spain doen’t even make cars!!

  • Drake

    Its not a blimp. Its a dirigible.

    @Dave E. :: Your definition just adds to the argument against it being a blimp, its not holding it’s shape due to gas pressure, but from its rigid shell.

  • Drake

    Its not a blimp. Its a dirigible.

    @Dave E. :: Your definition just adds to the argument against it being a blimp, its not holding it’s shape due to gas pressure, but from its rigid shell.

  • deesquiggle

    The weather, terrorists, and speed aside–what a civilized and elegant way to travel. A major paradigm shift away from brute force and immediacy, a time driven existence, and back to a bit more of a delicate, wondrous, and contemplative existence.

  • deesquiggle

    The weather, terrorists, and speed aside–what a civilized and elegant way to travel. A major paradigm shift away from brute force and immediacy, a time driven existence, and back to a bit more of a delicate, wondrous, and contemplative existence.

  • deesquiggle

    The weather, terrorists, and speed aside–what a civilized and elegant way to travel. A major paradigm shift away from brute force and immediacy, a time driven existence, and back to a bit more of a delicate, wondrous, and contemplative existence.

  • deesquiggle

    The weather, terrorists, and speed aside–what a civilized and elegant way to travel. A major paradigm shift away from brute force and immediacy, a time driven existence, and back to a bit more of a delicate, wondrous, and contemplative existence.

  • deesquiggle

    The weather, terrorists, and speed aside–what a civilized and elegant way to travel. A major paradigm shift away from brute force and immediacy, a time driven existence, and back to a bit more of a delicate, wondrous, and contemplative existence.

  • Erin

    Ok…. Not a blimp. Zeppelin? Dirigible? ok, dirigible is an umbrella term, but not only do those sound cooler, but they are more accurate terms. blimp=limp and this is a rigid structure. woo. and dave, you disproved yourself as merriam himself says “maintains its form by pressure,” aka, not rigid and would go rather limp on upon deflation.

    and so, angry_airship_afficionado makes a valid point.

    i think this is a pretty neat idea. i’ve always wanted to travel by water freight because of the lackadaisical nature. i think this would be WAY more fun. imagine the view!!!

  • Erin

    Ok…. Not a blimp. Zeppelin? Dirigible? ok, dirigible is an umbrella term, but not only do those sound cooler, but they are more accurate terms. blimp=limp and this is a rigid structure. woo. and dave, you disproved yourself as merriam himself says “maintains its form by pressure,” aka, not rigid and would go rather limp on upon deflation.

    and so, angry_airship_afficionado makes a valid point.

    i think this is a pretty neat idea. i’ve always wanted to travel by water freight because of the lackadaisical nature. i think this would be WAY more fun. imagine the view!!!

  • http://bit.ly/keeno keeno

    Hmmm 3 1/2 days to get from Paris to New York?

    well there’s more low quality entertainers out there than all the cruise ships can handle, so I think it coudl work

    I’m available

  • http://bit.ly/keeno keeno

    Hmmm 3 1/2 days to get from Paris to New York?

    well there’s more low quality entertainers out there than all the cruise ships can handle, so I think it coudl work

    I’m available

  • http://bit.ly/keeno keeno

    Hmmm 3 1/2 days to get from Paris to New York?

    well there’s more low quality entertainers out there than all the cruise ships can handle, so I think it coudl work

    I’m available

  • Yo

    I aprove…

  • Yo

    I aprove…

  • Yo

    I aprove…

  • Joseph Espinoza

    Too slow for mass transportation. You would have to make it extremely luxurious and market it as a cruise line to even think about drawing in customers. People may be interested in a sky cruise but in this fast pace world, unless you’re looking for a cruise style vacation, 4 days to get to London is just way too long. Quit worrying about all the flashy technology and start figuring out how to can market this thing to a consumer.

  • Joseph Espinoza

    Too slow for mass transportation. You would have to make it extremely luxurious and market it as a cruise line to even think about drawing in customers. People may be interested in a sky cruise but in this fast pace world, unless you’re looking for a cruise style vacation, 4 days to get to London is just way too long. Quit worrying about all the flashy technology and start figuring out how to can market this thing to a consumer.

  • Joseph Espinoza

    Too slow for mass transportation. You would have to make it extremely luxurious and market it as a cruise line to even think about drawing in customers. People may be interested in a sky cruise but in this fast pace world, unless you’re looking for a cruise style vacation, 4 days to get to London is just way too long. Quit worrying about all the flashy technology and start figuring out how to can market this thing to a consumer.

  • http://www.taormina-tourism.com taormina

    This sounds cool! What a way to travel.

  • http://www.taormina-tourism.com taormina

    This sounds cool! What a way to travel.

  • http://www.taormina-tourism.com taormina

    This sounds cool! What a way to travel.

  • PVguy

    I don’t think there is such a thing as Cadmium-Indium-Germanium solar cells. You’re probably referring to CIGS solar cells (Copper-Indium-Gallium-Selenide)…

  • PVguy

    I don’t think there is such a thing as Cadmium-Indium-Germanium solar cells. You’re probably referring to CIGS solar cells (Copper-Indium-Gallium-Selenide)…

  • PVguy

    I don’t think there is such a thing as Cadmium-Indium-Germanium solar cells. You’re probably referring to CIGS solar cells (Copper-Indium-Gallium-Selenide)…

  • PVguy

    I don’t think there is such a thing as Cadmium-Indium-Germanium solar cells. You’re probably referring to CIGS solar cells (Copper-Indium-Gallium-Selenide)…

  • PVguy

    I don’t think there is such a thing as Cadmium-Indium-Germanium solar cells. You’re probably referring to CIGS solar cells (Copper-Indium-Gallium-Selenide)…

  • http://home.earthlink.net/~trolleyfan David Johnson

    “The only thing currently keeping this visionary project from flying is funding.”

    Oh good, the *only* thing it needs in the middle of a world-wide recession is money. That should be easy to fix…

  • http://home.earthlink.net/~trolleyfan David Johnson

    “The only thing currently keeping this visionary project from flying is funding.”

    Oh good, the *only* thing it needs in the middle of a world-wide recession is money. That should be easy to fix…

  • Alech

    and it will take just like a week or so :)

  • Alech

    and it will take just like a week or so :)

  • Alech

    and it will take just like a week or so :)

  • Gary Mitchell

    I cannot believe that 70HP will drive this aircraft against even a gentle wind and a storm would spell disaster. It would take weeks to fly from NY to Paris and just the cost of food for the passengers would be astronomical.

  • PaulJ

    I think that this is a great idea, perhaps less so for flying from NY to Paris directly as I think the scenery might be a little dull, but as a means to indulge in eco tourism, think Kruger game reserve here in SA, I think that this would be superb for viewing wild life, maybe even a cruise up and down the grand canyon, the potential is definitely there, unprecedented views all in a unique and luxurious environment. Sign me up!

  • PaulJ

    I think that this is a great idea, perhaps less so for flying from NY to Paris directly as I think the scenery might be a little dull, but as a means to indulge in eco tourism, think Kruger game reserve here in SA, I think that this would be superb for viewing wild life, maybe even a cruise up and down the grand canyon, the potential is definitely there, unprecedented views all in a unique and luxurious environment. Sign me up!

  • http://replacingoil.com Cory Renauer

    I agree with most here that a trip from NYC to Paris is a bit silly. Nothing to look at but water for 3 days!?!

    No wonder they can’t get any funding.

    What might work is a trip over more interesting terrain say The Rockies or from NYC to Maine and back during Autumn when the leaves are changing color.

    Anything but ocean for days on end!

  • http://replacingoil.com Cory Renauer

    I agree with most here that a trip from NYC to Paris is a bit silly. Nothing to look at but water for 3 days!?!

    No wonder they can’t get any funding.

    What might work is a trip over more interesting terrain say The Rockies or from NYC to Maine and back during Autumn when the leaves are changing color.

    Anything but ocean for days on end!

  • http://replacingoil.com Cory Renauer

    I agree with most here that a trip from NYC to Paris is a bit silly. Nothing to look at but water for 3 days!?!

    No wonder they can’t get any funding.

    What might work is a trip over more interesting terrain say The Rockies or from NYC to Maine and back during Autumn when the leaves are changing color.

    Anything but ocean for days on end!

  • http://replacingoil.com Cory Renauer

    I agree with most here that a trip from NYC to Paris is a bit silly. Nothing to look at but water for 3 days!?!

    No wonder they can’t get any funding.

    What might work is a trip over more interesting terrain say The Rockies or from NYC to Maine and back during Autumn when the leaves are changing color.

    Anything but ocean for days on end!

  • http://www.PlanetThoughts.org David – green thoughts

    I do find the entire discussion of real interest. Yes, some of the facts are being fact-checked by the audience. Fine. I do want to add what I remember — the Hindenburg, in addition to containing hydrogen, had the skin prepared with a highly flammable treatment:

    “…the substance used to coat the cotton skin — a process known as “doping” which makes the fabric taut and more durable — was extremely flammable. A combination of iron oxide, cellulose acetate and aluminum powder, “the total mixture might well serve as a respectable rocket propellant,” Van Vorst said.”

    (from http://www.seas.ucla.edu/hsseas/releases/blimp.htm)

    In any case, the fact that it flies slowly now might indeed mean creativity is needed — an air “cruise to nowhere” (in NYC we have a boat “cruise to nowhere” that has been commercially successful for decades, and it just returns to where it started) would be a good idea, as would short-haul flight, and as would some freight travel where speed was not critical.

    I do hope the manufacturers get funding to take the next steps, and that they keep their options open based on careful analysis. But until the speed is far higher, I do agree with those who question transatlantic or long-distance human travel as the basis of this company’s future success.

    Best of luck, hoping you can make it fly.

  • http://www.PlanetThoughts.org David – green thoughts

    I do find the entire discussion of real interest. Yes, some of the facts are being fact-checked by the audience. Fine. I do want to add what I remember — the Hindenburg, in addition to containing hydrogen, had the skin prepared with a highly flammable treatment:

    “…the substance used to coat the cotton skin — a process known as “doping” which makes the fabric taut and more durable — was extremely flammable. A combination of iron oxide, cellulose acetate and aluminum powder, “the total mixture might well serve as a respectable rocket propellant,” Van Vorst said.”

    (from http://www.seas.ucla.edu/hsseas/releases/blimp.htm)

    In any case, the fact that it flies slowly now might indeed mean creativity is needed — an air “cruise to nowhere” (in NYC we have a boat “cruise to nowhere” that has been commercially successful for decades, and it just returns to where it started) would be a good idea, as would short-haul flight, and as would some freight travel where speed was not critical.

    I do hope the manufacturers get funding to take the next steps, and that they keep their options open based on careful analysis. But until the speed is far higher, I do agree with those who question transatlantic or long-distance human travel as the basis of this company’s future success.

    Best of luck, hoping you can make it fly.

  • Frank DeFreytas

    Hello,

    While I do believe that the nostalgia for a ‘slow boat to China’ still lingers in the minds of many people, the idea of traversing the Atlantic at a ‘swift’ 40 mph in average conditions, has much to be desired. Since the distance between NYC and Paris is slightly more than 3625 miles, it would take over 90 hours for the trip; or 3 and 3/4 days. From a food and sanitary point of view, the trip would be quite daunting. The crew size for the crossing would be most complicated due to the number of hours; notwithstanding unionized staff. The current long trips of 15 1/2 hours by jet are complex enough without multiplying that by a factor close to 6 times.

    The maneuverability of the craft in heavy weather is of great concern. Fortunately the flight plan would avoid the Bermuda Triangle, but that does not preclude that all would be easy sailing (through the air)

    This story reminds me of the cover of the Popular Mechanics magazine of the late 1950′s where often a swashbuckling future was depicted.

    While I applaud their efforts for potentially improving PV’s or novel ways to slip through the air, let’s put our time and effort into vastly improved PV for solar, better air foils for wind, and inexpensive ways to produce and distribute hydrogen. These are far more important for the success of this planet.

    Green IS my favorite color (colour – for my friends of the Queen)

  • Frank DeFreytas

    Hello,

    While I do believe that the nostalgia for a ‘slow boat to China’ still lingers in the minds of many people, the idea of traversing the Atlantic at a ‘swift’ 40 mph in average conditions, has much to be desired. Since the distance between NYC and Paris is slightly more than 3625 miles, it would take over 90 hours for the trip; or 3 and 3/4 days. From a food and sanitary point of view, the trip would be quite daunting. The crew size for the crossing would be most complicated due to the number of hours; notwithstanding unionized staff. The current long trips of 15 1/2 hours by jet are complex enough without multiplying that by a factor close to 6 times.

    The maneuverability of the craft in heavy weather is of great concern. Fortunately the flight plan would avoid the Bermuda Triangle, but that does not preclude that all would be easy sailing (through the air)

    This story reminds me of the cover of the Popular Mechanics magazine of the late 1950′s where often a swashbuckling future was depicted.

    While I applaud their efforts for potentially improving PV’s or novel ways to slip through the air, let’s put our time and effort into vastly improved PV for solar, better air foils for wind, and inexpensive ways to produce and distribute hydrogen. These are far more important for the success of this planet.

    Green IS my favorite color (colour – for my friends of the Queen)

  • Frank DeFreytas

    Hello,

    While I do believe that the nostalgia for a ‘slow boat to China’ still lingers in the minds of many people, the idea of traversing the Atlantic at a ‘swift’ 40 mph in average conditions, has much to be desired. Since the distance between NYC and Paris is slightly more than 3625 miles, it would take over 90 hours for the trip; or 3 and 3/4 days. From a food and sanitary point of view, the trip would be quite daunting. The crew size for the crossing would be most complicated due to the number of hours; notwithstanding unionized staff. The current long trips of 15 1/2 hours by jet are complex enough without multiplying that by a factor close to 6 times.

    The maneuverability of the craft in heavy weather is of great concern. Fortunately the flight plan would avoid the Bermuda Triangle, but that does not preclude that all would be easy sailing (through the air)

    This story reminds me of the cover of the Popular Mechanics magazine of the late 1950′s where often a swashbuckling future was depicted.

    While I applaud their efforts for potentially improving PV’s or novel ways to slip through the air, let’s put our time and effort into vastly improved PV for solar, better air foils for wind, and inexpensive ways to produce and distribute hydrogen. These are far more important for the success of this planet.

    Green IS my favorite color (colour – for my friends of the Queen)

  • Rufus

    90 hours to fly from NY to Paris? No thank you.

  • Rufus

    90 hours to fly from NY to Paris? No thank you.

  • Dave E.

    @ angry_airship_afficionado: Your lack of research and comments are annoying. Dictionary.com is just ‘one’ version of the definition of a “blimp.” Try Merriam Webster you doof. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blimp – 1: an airship that maintains its form by pressure from contained gas

    It’s a freakin’ blimp. Don’t over-analyze it.

  • Dave E.

    @ angry_airship_afficionado: Your lack of research and comments are annoying. Dictionary.com is just ‘one’ version of the definition of a “blimp.” Try Merriam Webster you doof. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blimp – 1: an airship that maintains its form by pressure from contained gas

    It’s a freakin’ blimp. Don’t over-analyze it.

  • Dave E.

    @ angry_airship_afficionado: Your lack of research and comments are annoying. Dictionary.com is just ‘one’ version of the definition of a “blimp.” Try Merriam Webster you doof. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blimp – 1: an airship that maintains its form by pressure from contained gas

    It’s a freakin’ blimp. Don’t over-analyze it.

  • Amateur6

    “Even so: it’s a blimp.”

    As a_a_a said, no, it’s not — if it has a rigid structure, it’s a zeppelin (just like the Hindenburg was, BTW). Blimps have NO structural supports.

    And to Hann — the gas (hydrogen) inside Hindenburg CERTAINLY contributed to the accident, otherwise there wouldn’t have been an enormous fireball.

  • Amateur6

    “Even so: it’s a blimp.”

    As a_a_a said, no, it’s not — if it has a rigid structure, it’s a zeppelin (just like the Hindenburg was, BTW). Blimps have NO structural supports.

    And to Hann — the gas (hydrogen) inside Hindenburg CERTAINLY contributed to the accident, otherwise there wouldn’t have been an enormous fireball.

  • Amateur6

    “Even so: it’s a blimp.”

    As a_a_a said, no, it’s not — if it has a rigid structure, it’s a zeppelin (just like the Hindenburg was, BTW). Blimps have NO structural supports.

    And to Hann — the gas (hydrogen) inside Hindenburg CERTAINLY contributed to the accident, otherwise there wouldn’t have been an enormous fireball.

  • Matt

    It seems like some of you are assuming that the entire “balloon” area can be used for something other than holding gas. I believe the small area at the bottom of the blimp is where you can store people or freight. If you fill the “ballon” with stuff, then it won’t float.

  • Matt

    It seems like some of you are assuming that the entire “balloon” area can be used for something other than holding gas. I believe the small area at the bottom of the blimp is where you can store people or freight. If you fill the “ballon” with stuff, then it won’t float.

  • Matt

    It seems like some of you are assuming that the entire “balloon” area can be used for something other than holding gas. I believe the small area at the bottom of the blimp is where you can store people or freight. If you fill the “ballon” with stuff, then it won’t float.

  • http://storyofstuff.com Hann

    Heidenberg crashed and burned because of it’s construction materials, not the gas inside. Treehugger, don’t perpetuate misconceptions, thanks.

    It’s perfectly safe to use Helium.

    Anyways, I heard about this company a few years ago. Went to their website. It was the sorriest site I’ve ever seen. Hopefully they’ll get this off the ground. I would definitely travel this way.

    XVX for life, R.A.S.H. ’til death.

  • http://storyofstuff.com Hann

    Heidenberg crashed and burned because of it’s construction materials, not the gas inside. Treehugger, don’t perpetuate misconceptions, thanks.

    It’s perfectly safe to use Helium.

    Anyways, I heard about this company a few years ago. Went to their website. It was the sorriest site I’ve ever seen. Hopefully they’ll get this off the ground. I would definitely travel this way.

    XVX for life, R.A.S.H. ’til death.

  • http://storyofstuff.com Hann

    Heidenberg crashed and burned because of it’s construction materials, not the gas inside. Treehugger, don’t perpetuate misconceptions, thanks.

    It’s perfectly safe to use Helium.

    Anyways, I heard about this company a few years ago. Went to their website. It was the sorriest site I’ve ever seen. Hopefully they’ll get this off the ground. I would definitely travel this way.

    XVX for life, R.A.S.H. ’til death.

  • http://storyofstuff.com Hann

    Heidenberg crashed and burned because of it’s construction materials, not the gas inside. Treehugger, don’t perpetuate misconceptions, thanks.

    It’s perfectly safe to use Helium.

    Anyways, I heard about this company a few years ago. Went to their website. It was the sorriest site I’ve ever seen. Hopefully they’ll get this off the ground. I would definitely travel this way.

    XVX for life, R.A.S.H. ’til death.

  • Mike

    Airships are, at least in theory, a viable ‘green’ solution to a lot of our travel needs. However, I’m going to agree with Thomas in that targeting the long-haul market is possibly not the best way to head with these ships. Mostly because of the length of time such trips would take.

    However, I do believe that airships pose a viable alternative to conventional heavier-than-air flight in the short-haul arena. Short-haul is the relm of the low-cost carrier (Ryanair, Easyjet, SouthWest Airlines) – and one of the biggest overheads these companies have is fuel. Airships, especially solar-powered ones such as the above example cut down on that cost substantially. So they take 4 hours instead of 1.5, but for the same cost or cheaper the comfort and quality abord such a flight could outstrip anything offered by current airlines, cattle-class or otherwise.

  • Mike

    Airships are, at least in theory, a viable ‘green’ solution to a lot of our travel needs. However, I’m going to agree with Thomas in that targeting the long-haul market is possibly not the best way to head with these ships. Mostly because of the length of time such trips would take.

    However, I do believe that airships pose a viable alternative to conventional heavier-than-air flight in the short-haul arena. Short-haul is the relm of the low-cost carrier (Ryanair, Easyjet, SouthWest Airlines) – and one of the biggest overheads these companies have is fuel. Airships, especially solar-powered ones such as the above example cut down on that cost substantially. So they take 4 hours instead of 1.5, but for the same cost or cheaper the comfort and quality abord such a flight could outstrip anything offered by current airlines, cattle-class or otherwise.

  • http://www.senderok.com Allen MacCannell @ SenderOK

    I would be sure to have touchdown points in Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland and fund mostly by cargo. I would like this option. Just nothing as flammable as the Hindenburg please.

  • http://www.senderok.com Allen MacCannell @ SenderOK

    I would be sure to have touchdown points in Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland and fund mostly by cargo. I would like this option. Just nothing as flammable as the Hindenburg please.

  • Uncle B

    Light freight by blimp! Straight-line traffic free fast, no tires to burn, no frustrated drivers cursing small car traffic! no huge trucks to pass in the freeways, Go for it! As for passengers, it seems ideal too! Room to walk around, bar, lounge, girls! computer plug-ins at desks why not! you have the space and the lift – beats the hell out of buses, and probably better than congested trains foe longer distances? Who knows? They will certainly take less fuel than jet planes, and possibly solve the high cost tickets, and probably relieve the airport congestion – all good ! Give it a go! Oil is not getting any cheaper, and society still demands we travel, so what else! I like it!

  • Uncle B

    Light freight by blimp! Straight-line traffic free fast, no tires to burn, no frustrated drivers cursing small car traffic! no huge trucks to pass in the freeways, Go for it! As for passengers, it seems ideal too! Room to walk around, bar, lounge, girls! computer plug-ins at desks why not! you have the space and the lift – beats the hell out of buses, and probably better than congested trains foe longer distances? Who knows? They will certainly take less fuel than jet planes, and possibly solve the high cost tickets, and probably relieve the airport congestion – all good ! Give it a go! Oil is not getting any cheaper, and society still demands we travel, so what else! I like it!

  • Uncle B

    Light freight by blimp! Straight-line traffic free fast, no tires to burn, no frustrated drivers cursing small car traffic! no huge trucks to pass in the freeways, Go for it! As for passengers, it seems ideal too! Room to walk around, bar, lounge, girls! computer plug-ins at desks why not! you have the space and the lift – beats the hell out of buses, and probably better than congested trains foe longer distances? Who knows? They will certainly take less fuel than jet planes, and possibly solve the high cost tickets, and probably relieve the airport congestion – all good ! Give it a go! Oil is not getting any cheaper, and society still demands we travel, so what else! I like it!

  • angry_airship_afficionado

    “Even so: it’s a blimp.”

    Mr. Nelson? You should do some basic research before

    publishing, perhaps to the extent of a dictionary.

    Dictionary.com provides the correct definition of the English word “blimp,” as follows:

    “1. a small, nonrigid airship or dirigible, esp. one used chiefly for observation.”

    The Turtle Airships representative you quoted is clearly justified in his or her reluctance to refer to the company’s rigid airship design as a blimp, when a blimp is (see above definition) specifically NON-rigid.

    Your comment to the contrary is patently incorrect and needlessly dismissive of Turtle Airships and their laudable goals.

    Your ignorance, Mr. Nelson, is only equaled by your smug, cooler-than-you attitude. It’s unappealing and reflects poorly on Cleantechnica.com, as well as yourself.

  • angry_airship_afficionado

    “Even so: it’s a blimp.”

    Mr. Nelson? You should do some basic research before

    publishing, perhaps to the extent of a dictionary.

    Dictionary.com provides the correct definition of the English word “blimp,” as follows:

    “1. a small, nonrigid airship or dirigible, esp. one used chiefly for observation.”

    The Turtle Airships representative you quoted is clearly justified in his or her reluctance to refer to the company’s rigid airship design as a blimp, when a blimp is (see above definition) specifically NON-rigid.

    Your comment to the contrary is patently incorrect and needlessly dismissive of Turtle Airships and their laudable goals.

    Your ignorance, Mr. Nelson, is only equaled by your smug, cooler-than-you attitude. It’s unappealing and reflects poorly on Cleantechnica.com, as well as yourself.

  • angry_airship_afficionado

    “Even so: it’s a blimp.”

    Mr. Nelson? You should do some basic research before

    publishing, perhaps to the extent of a dictionary.

    Dictionary.com provides the correct definition of the English word “blimp,” as follows:

    “1. a small, nonrigid airship or dirigible, esp. one used chiefly for observation.”

    The Turtle Airships representative you quoted is clearly justified in his or her reluctance to refer to the company’s rigid airship design as a blimp, when a blimp is (see above definition) specifically NON-rigid.

    Your comment to the contrary is patently incorrect and needlessly dismissive of Turtle Airships and their laudable goals.

    Your ignorance, Mr. Nelson, is only equaled by your smug, cooler-than-you attitude. It’s unappealing and reflects poorly on Cleantechnica.com, as well as yourself.

  • thomas

    I, being only one person, believe that this idea will fail. That being said, let me tell you all why I believe this idea will fail. Storms and a blimps inability to fly through them at low altitudes will limit the reach of this idea. It can rest on land and water. Yes it can, but it cannot rest on something that is not also at rest. During storms the ocean will not be at rest and this blimp will crash/sink. It risks too many lives to be marketable beyond trips across the North Atlantic. Storms are the reason this idea will not develop, but entertainment will be the reason they ultimately fail. Being pushed by 70hp and nothing else the trips will be extremely long by todays standards. The only way extremely long trips have lasted in todays world, and made money in a modern world is by: 1) returning to the starting place, and 2) entertaining the guests during the travel time. Many modern curses have water slides, casinos, buffets, arcades and bars for guests to enjoy. A blimp, running on 70hp, will not have what it takes to provide this to it’s guests. The idea is flawed, but finally, I would like to give some suggestions on how to improve this idea. First, target your audience. It will be those with spendable wealth. Look at what they like to do, than tailor the wasted space inside the blimp’s ‘balloon’ as a space for guests to go. Build driving ranges, bars, playgrounds, and rooms for passengers to go. This will involve pioneering new light weight gas mixtures that have enough oxygen to support life. A direction for research would be light weight materials as a source of lift. Your welcome, I’ll take a job if you’ve got one.

  • thomas

    I, being only one person, believe that this idea will fail. That being said, let me tell you all why I believe this idea will fail. Storms and a blimps inability to fly through them at low altitudes will limit the reach of this idea. It can rest on land and water. Yes it can, but it cannot rest on something that is not also at rest. During storms the ocean will not be at rest and this blimp will crash/sink. It risks too many lives to be marketable beyond trips across the North Atlantic. Storms are the reason this idea will not develop, but entertainment will be the reason they ultimately fail. Being pushed by 70hp and nothing else the trips will be extremely long by todays standards. The only way extremely long trips have lasted in todays world, and made money in a modern world is by: 1) returning to the starting place, and 2) entertaining the guests during the travel time. Many modern curses have water slides, casinos, buffets, arcades and bars for guests to enjoy. A blimp, running on 70hp, will not have what it takes to provide this to it’s guests. The idea is flawed, but finally, I would like to give some suggestions on how to improve this idea. First, target your audience. It will be those with spendable wealth. Look at what they like to do, than tailor the wasted space inside the blimp’s ‘balloon’ as a space for guests to go. Build driving ranges, bars, playgrounds, and rooms for passengers to go. This will involve pioneering new light weight gas mixtures that have enough oxygen to support life. A direction for research would be light weight materials as a source of lift. Your welcome, I’ll take a job if you’ve got one.

  • thomas

    I, being only one person, believe that this idea will fail. That being said, let me tell you all why I believe this idea will fail. Storms and a blimps inability to fly through them at low altitudes will limit the reach of this idea. It can rest on land and water. Yes it can, but it cannot rest on something that is not also at rest. During storms the ocean will not be at rest and this blimp will crash/sink. It risks too many lives to be marketable beyond trips across the North Atlantic. Storms are the reason this idea will not develop, but entertainment will be the reason they ultimately fail. Being pushed by 70hp and nothing else the trips will be extremely long by todays standards. The only way extremely long trips have lasted in todays world, and made money in a modern world is by: 1) returning to the starting place, and 2) entertaining the guests during the travel time. Many modern curses have water slides, casinos, buffets, arcades and bars for guests to enjoy. A blimp, running on 70hp, will not have what it takes to provide this to it’s guests. The idea is flawed, but finally, I would like to give some suggestions on how to improve this idea. First, target your audience. It will be those with spendable wealth. Look at what they like to do, than tailor the wasted space inside the blimp’s ‘balloon’ as a space for guests to go. Build driving ranges, bars, playgrounds, and rooms for passengers to go. This will involve pioneering new light weight gas mixtures that have enough oxygen to support life. A direction for research would be light weight materials as a source of lift. Your welcome, I’ll take a job if you’ve got one.

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