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Hybrid aircraft touted for future
Anchorage Daily News ^ | November 12, 2006 | JULIA O'MALLEY

Posted on 11/12/2006 8:57:42 AM PST by thackney

Imagine a giant, turtle-shaped aircraft, a combo of blimp, plane and hovercraft, filled with freight, quietly floating over the ocean.

It sounds like science fiction, but serious experts insist it could someday be a reality in Alaska.

Hybrid aircraft, or airships, modern incarnations of the blimp, travel faster than barges and trucks and are cheaper to operate than jets. Promoters hope someday they may haul freight and supplies to remote locations in Alaska.

More than 50 business leaders, students and academics gathered at the University of Alaska, Anchorage on Friday for a round-table discussion on the airships and a presentation from two companies, California-based Aeros and New Mexico-based Hybrid Aircraft Corp.

Alaska is a particularly good market for the airships because of the state's many remote freight needs, like delivering supplies to roadless villages, taking fish to market or hauling oil exploration equipment to the tundra.

The airship is no blimp, Frederick Edworthy, vice president of Aeros, explained to the crowd.

"It's a completely different animal."

A blimp is a slow-moving, low-flying, difficult-to-maneuver, bullet-shaped craft, most commonly used for advertising, famously for the tire company Goodyear.

Airships are designed to carry cargo or passengers. They use a giant bladder, filled with non-flammable helium, and an airplane engine to loft themselves into the air. They fly just low enough to avoid having to pressurize the cabin like an airplane. They are much faster and more maneuverable than blimps. They don't require long runways like jets or a large crew on the ground. They also don't need to be stored in a hangar. Aeros is currently building a test craft.

Airships by Hybrid Aircraft Corp., which have been developed in a partnership with aeronautical giant Lockheed Martin, are further along in development. The company has built one and has orders for others.

(Excerpt) Read more at adn.com ...


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; US: Alaska
KEYWORDS: airship
FREIGHT HAULERS: Discussion examines possibilities for Alaska.

The image is a computer generated simulation of the 50-ton net payload cargo configured hybrid aircraft, HAC SkyFreighterTM 50, the latest high-tech incarnation of a blimp, filled with helium and powered by airplanes engines.

1 posted on 11/12/2006 8:57:43 AM PST by thackney
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To: thackney
a combo of blimp, plane and hovercraft, filled with freight, quietly floating over the ocean. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
2 posted on 11/12/2006 9:09:05 AM PST by dragonblustar
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To: thackney

Yeah, I saw this in Popular mechanics back in, I think it was, 1964. ;)


3 posted on 11/12/2006 9:10:13 AM PST by RobRoy (Islam is a greater threat to the world now than Naziism was in 1937.)
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To: thackney

they should use the hot exhaust from a jet engine for lift, then controlled venting for propulsion :)


4 posted on 11/12/2006 9:13:22 AM PST by underbyte
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To: thackney

Looks like it would be really susceptible to wind shear, due to bulk, relatively low speed and low altitude.


5 posted on 11/12/2006 9:53:12 AM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: thackney

I'm having a hard time visualizing an airship carrying 50 tons of cargo...since it's not just a helium lift device, it must maintain a certain airspeed to lift that much. Then would they have to land on a runway at slow speed, or dump the cargo at low altitude and suddenly gain negative 50 tons of lift? Yee haw! Ride em, airboy!


6 posted on 11/12/2006 10:06:45 AM PST by Sender ("Always tell the truth; then you don't have to remember anything." -Mark Twain)
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To: RegulatorCountry

it does look really nice though!


7 posted on 11/12/2006 10:07:45 AM PST by Narcoleptic (chuckle chuckle chuckle)
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To: dragonblustar; Howlin; onyx; Clemenza; Petronski; GummyIII; SevenofNine; martin_fierro; veronica; ..
Ping to post #2! LOL!
8 posted on 11/12/2006 10:08:43 AM PST by EveningStar
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To: RobRoy
Yeah, I saw this in Popular mechanics back in, I think it was, 1964. ;)

They can use one to deliver your Flying Car...

9 posted on 11/12/2006 10:14:23 AM PST by gridlock (My Prognosticator Unit is busted, and stuck on "ROSY". Predictions may be unreliable.)
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To: EveningStar
DAMN, MY EYES! :(
10 posted on 11/12/2006 10:18:29 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (Just b/c your paranoid; Doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you. :^)
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To: RegulatorCountry

Wind is light or scarce in much of Alaska much of the time. These aircraft could deliver bulk oil and gasoline to bush villages economically. Might be entertaining to test these aircraft in 60 below weather.


11 posted on 11/12/2006 10:18:46 AM PST by RightWhale (RTRA DLQS GSCW)
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To: thackney
Yawn

Sounds like a money fishing expedition in Alaska. Heavens knows the state IDEA folks have handed out money for stranger things.

BTW, the mail was delivered via hovercraft a couple of years back, but the Natives complained about the noise, so the craft were dropped from use. They are noisy buggers.
12 posted on 11/12/2006 10:21:04 AM PST by ASOC (The phrase "What if" or "If only" are for children.)
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To: thackney; Aeronaut

13 posted on 11/12/2006 10:27:25 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: thackney

Might as well build zeppelins with modern materials.


14 posted on 11/12/2006 10:42:35 AM PST by Spirochete
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To: martin_fierro

Thunderbirds are GO!!!


15 posted on 11/12/2006 11:10:36 AM PST by Salgak (Acme Lasers presents: The Energizer Border: I dare you to try and cross it. . .)
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To: Spirochete
Might as well build zeppelins with modern materials.
You mean like these folks are doing?
16 posted on 11/12/2006 11:25:27 AM PST by Vroomfondel
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To: EveningStar

Ucky.


17 posted on 11/12/2006 11:42:31 AM PST by Alia
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To: martin_fierro

Had a Thunderbird 2 diecast toy. Held a little yellow TB 4 in the cargo pod. Very nice.


18 posted on 11/12/2006 11:47:26 AM PST by RodgerD (Don't Abolish America. Defeat the Bush-Pelosi Mexico-Merger Scheme)
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To: dragonblustar

OMG rack itt ROFL that cold MAN very funny


19 posted on 11/12/2006 1:31:10 PM PST by SevenofNine ("Step aside Jefe"=Det Lennie Briscoe)
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To: RightWhale

"Might be entertaining to test these aircraft in 60 below weather."

All sorts of surpising things gum up or even shatter at those temps. But, that's some pretty dense air, lol, so aerodynamic lift shouldn't be a problem. The other component of lift, helium, could be adversely affected, but I honestly can't say whether that would or would not be the case.


20 posted on 11/12/2006 4:03:24 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: RegulatorCountry

Helium is a very scarce element. It is found in only a few places, often as a biproduct of natural gas.

Among things that we are likely to run out of sooner, rather than later, helium is right at the front of the list.


21 posted on 11/12/2006 4:19:45 PM PST by Jack Black
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To: RegulatorCountry

Helium is a very scarce element. It is found in only a few places, often as a biproduct of natural gas.

Among things that we are likely to run out of sooner, rather than later, helium is right at the front of the list.


22 posted on 11/12/2006 4:19:50 PM PST by Jack Black
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To: RegulatorCountry

Don't know if it's dense, but it is shallow. Sea level is the same pressure. In the summer the ravens fly a mile up on a thermal, but in winter they rarely get over 200 feet up. A hard landing by one of those membranes might be more interesting than a mere sprung airframe.


23 posted on 11/12/2006 4:22:40 PM PST by RightWhale (RTRA DLQS GSCW)
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To: Jack Black

They should figure out a safe way to use hydrogen.


24 posted on 11/12/2006 4:26:35 PM PST by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: Vroomfondel
Might as well build zeppelins with modern materials. You mean like these folks are doing?

Exactly. The Germans had great success with zeppelins because they took pains to avoid flying through bad weather, whereas U.S. and British captains made no such attempts, and lost most of their zeppelins to storms.

The zeppelin was a great and workable concept. With modern materials, radar, and satellite meteorology there's no reason it can't work again.

25 posted on 11/12/2006 4:59:58 PM PST by Spirochete
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To: thackney

The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed - PaperbackThe Deltoid Pumpkin Seed
Published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Hardcover: 0-374-13781-1
Paperback: 0-374-51635-9

The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed tells the fascinating story of the dream of a completely new aircraft, a hybrid of the airplane and the rigid airship--huge, wingless, moving slowly through the lower sky. It flies aerodynamically. It floats aerostatically. It carries bridges, buildings, fleets of trucks. It is a flying warehouse. It eliminates the need for roads, railroads, prepared harbors. Or so goes the dream. With an arching back and a deep belly, it looks like a tremendous pumpkin seed.

Its early and secret experimental development took twelve years' time and one and a half million dollars. None of this capital was put up by the government or by a big aircraft company. It came from private individuals. Much of it was raised by the minister of the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Trenton, New Jersey, who initiated the project.

McPhee chronicles the perhaps unfathomable perseverance of the aircraft 30's progenitors. Eight years after the founding of the Aereon Corporation, its tangible assets were the wrecks of many models and the wreckage of one eighty-foot-long triple-hulled rigid airship.

The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed - HardcoverThe book has some of the ingredients of a spy story, reads as smoothly as a good novel, and is totally true. Some six or eight characters are developed in the round. The first flight of a deltoid Aereon is achieved by a master builder of model aircraft whose talent goes beyond the kit builder's imagination. The twenty-six-foot, manned, proof-of-concept Aereon is constructed singlehanded by a rigger of naval airships who, of course, no longer has other airships to rig. The company is held together for twelve years by (successively) two theologians who dream separately of the missionary effect of the aircraft but share very little harmony together. The test pilot, an aeronautical engineer, has more courage than the front line of the Light Brigade, and a calculated disinterest. He works for pay. Extraordinary people. An extraordinary story. Its characters live on the page as in life.

Reviews

It's a book Leonardo da Vinci would have warmed to, a set of experiments he'd have cheered. --Paul West, The Washington Post

What gives [McPhee's] writing its powerful fascination is the strange, raw quality of fact: it all really happened, just this way…McPhee watches so intently that the Aereon and its people become real and important to the reader. --John Skow, Los Angeles Times

McPhee has a genius for writing about unusual people whose activities border on the eccentric, and the Aereon project abounded with them. His engrossing account can be read at a sitting. --Donald R. Morris, The Houston Post


26 posted on 11/12/2006 5:16:31 PM PST by null and void ("Jihad" just means "[My] Struggle", but then again, so does "Mein Kampf"...)
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