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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

AIRSHIPS of the FUTURE

The other day, I was revising. The particular book I was revising requires me to move outside of my comfort zone of the past, particularly the ancient past, and move into the future. As such, I had opportunity to ask El Husband himself for some expert opinions on the Future of Airtravel.* Now, generally, when I ask El Husband a question regarding aviation, I get more answer than I want, but this time, I would not have traded the bonus content for ANYTHING.

What follows is DIRECTLY quoted from our email exchange.

First, the short answer from El Husband:
[...] I think semi-rigid heavier-than-air airships may come into use.  Super-sonic high-altitude jets will carry the more affluent.
But it's really impossible to say.  A century from now is pretty much in the realm of science fiction due to its virtually unlimited potential.

I replied:
Now, when you say airship, you mean BLIMP right?**

This of course prompted El Husband to give me the LONG answer:

No.  Though the layman might call it that.  The term "airship" is kind of like "airplane" in that it has a number of very different definitions.

Blimps are specifically non-rigid airships.  Giant floating balloons.  Like the Goodyear Blimp.  Cheap, novel, impractical for anything beyond tourism or advertising.

Rigid airships are like the Hindenburg.  Zeppelins.  They have metal girder skeletons and have isolated cells of gas.  They're designed for heavy-duty long-haul stuff.  Basically trans-oceanic passenger hauling.

Semi-rigid airships are a hybrid of the two, incorporating a limited skeleton.  However, the types that are in development now (and I find wicked interesting) are actually heavier-than-air but are designed to resemble a chunky flying wing, and use their engines and aerodynamics to overcome their weight and fly like a colossal but very slow airplane.   They're faster and can haul a LOT more cargo than rigid airships, and far more fuel efficient than airplanes (plus they can just drop onto a farmer's field and then fly back out again).  They may completely revolutionize transportation in developing nations.  I think they have more potential than darned near any aircraft ever developed.  I hope they go somewhere.

And then. AND THEN. He linked to a video. My friends and followers, this video is amazing. If ever there were a Stay Puft brand of Aviation, this creation, this semi-rigid airship, would be its mascot. It is the reason this post had to be written, because it clearly falls outside of the scope of this blog in every way. But. I could. Not. Stop myself. Just watch. I promise you will not be disappointed.


Now you know. And knowing is, as they say, half the battle.

*For those of you who do not know, El Husband has a deep and abiding love for all things aviation, and in fact received his Bachelor's degree in Airport Management. This also means he's a pilot. My Thing is Writing, El Husband's is Airplanes. Also, apparently, putting two spaces between his sentences.

**Because I am a philistine and an uneducated fool (when it comes to aviation). Though the other day, I correctly guessed that an airplane overhead was a Hercules, thankyouverymuch. Just goes to show that Aviation-stuff can be TAUGHT! 

8 comments:

  1. Sounds like the same types of conversations I have with my husband about aviation. My entire family works for/loves aviation so I pretty much ignore it to be non-conformist. They all think I'm a fool for not being able to identify 747 v. 737 v. 727 v. Airbus (blah, blah, blah) flying overhead.

    Whatever.

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    1. Aviation seems like a very Alaskan hobby. Ha. I can't tell that stuff apart either, and the only reason I know the Hercules is because it is named Hercules. Of course!

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  2. Fascinating! I love the idea of airships. It's amazing to listen to someone passionately talk about something they love. I find myself become interested, even if the topic nothing I would have thought I'd be interested in. I LOVE thinking about futuristic airships now!

    And you and El Husband are in my top five of Cutest Couples I've Ever Heard of. <3 <3

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    1. hahaha. You should have heard our late night gigglefest over an invented gangster named Benny the Pear.

      But yeah, el husband is all over this aviation stuff, and the future of aviation, etc. I have so many issues of AIRPORT magazine kicking around this house, you would not believe.

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  3. That semi-rigid airship is so CUTE. I just want to cuddle it. It's so BOUNCY!

    Long answers FTW!

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    1. it is totally like a flying pillow, or a cloud, or an awkward bumble bee, or maybe just a marshmallow of fun! haha. I could not even stop laughing when I saw it.

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  4. Hehe - my dad comes from a family of glider/light aircraft pilots/engineers, and my uncle was (at one point), the Head of Aviation Security for Heathrow Airport! So I've been lectured thoroughly about all things airborne.

    I've never seen those though!! I will be utterly disappointed if I never get to travel in one. :D

    (Oh, and I agree, you two sound like an adorable couple!!)

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    1. I had never heard of them either! But there it is in all its delightfully awkward and bumbling glory!!

      And I do not envy anyone the job of head of aviation security at ANY airport, never mind one so big as Heathrow!

      (Ha!! Thank you :P)

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