The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'airships'
The (perennial) next thing: luxury passenger airships, this time from a bunch of people in London:
It straddles the concepts of a cruise ship and a hotel floating 12,000 feet in the air, with 50 rooms, including a penthouse and four duplex apartments. "There is a three-level cocktail bar at the bottom of the ship, with a thing that we call a Moon Pool - effectively it's a transparent floor - so on sunset you can sit there with your chums, sip a cocktail and look at the earth passing by underneath you, like [you're] a goddess," Mr Talbot said.Mind you, the Aircruise is still only a concept, and it is not clear whether anything like it will actually get built. (For one, there would need to be advances in materials to make it possible.)
Here come flying cars; only a decade or so late:
The two-seater Transition can use its front-wheel drive on roads at ordinary highway speeds, with wings folded, at a respectable 30 miles per gallon. Once it has arrived at a suitable take-off spot - an airport, or adequately sized piece of flat private land - it can fold down the wings, engage its rear-facing propellor, and take off. The folding wings are electrically powered.Robot housemaids and three-course meals in pill form are still nowhere to be seen.
In other news, airships could soon be used for transporting freight, being faster than oceanic ships and cheaper than powered aircraft. While they're only talking about freight so far, I imagine that if you outfitted them with comfortable cabins, observation decks and satellite internet access, they'd be good for recreational travel as well.
A US company is building what could replace jet airliners: a new generation of massive, luxuriously appointed airships.
Unlike its dirigible ancestors, the Aeroscraft is not lighter than air. Its 14 million cubic feet of helium hoist only two thirds of the craft's weight. The rigid and surprisingly aerodynamic bodydriven by huge rearward propellersgenerates enough additional lift to keep the behemoth and its 400-ton payload aloft while cruising. During takeoff and landing, six turbofan jet engines push the ship up or ease its descent.
To minimize noise, the aft-mounted propellers will be electric, powered by a renewable source such as hydrogen fuel cells. A sophisticated buoyancy-management system will serve the same purpose as trim on an airplane, allowing for precise adjustments in flight dynamics to compensate for outside conditions and passenger movement. The automated system will draw outside air into compartments throughout the ship and compress it to manage onboard weight.It sounds good to me; add high-speed satellite-based communications and one has a rather pleasant (and less ecologically damaging) way to travel than current airliners. Whilst a trip would take longer, it would probably be more enjoyable and/or productive than sitting in an airliner seat.
(via Boing Boing)