A rigid structure also makes it much easier to have a vehicle that can land where it needs to, rather than needing to have a dedicated landing facility and a mooring mast, as current airships do. The rigid shell would also be better able to withstand the elements, so that the craft would not have to be stored in a hangar when it was not in flight.
There are many uses for a very large, mobile vehicle with the ability to move many tons of material without the need for refueling or support infrastructure. Humanitarian groups in Malaysia and Indonesia are talking with Turtle Airships about the concept vehicle. Imagine a emergency services vehicle that could be dispatched to quickly travel to a disaster site with tons of supplies on board, and then would be able to stay on site for days afterward without resupply. This could combine the best aspects of helicopters and cargo airplanes with a vessel that could remain on the scene without needing to be refueled for days afterwards.
Airships are one of our passions at EcoGeek. As we've said before, "They're elegant, efficient, and exciting and require very little infrastructure." This scheme may exist only as engineering dreams for the moment, but we see some potential in the concept and hope to see it develop further in the coming decade.
written by Darrell Campbell, August 06, 2009
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