Airship Market Heating Up
Inventor L. Mike Kelley and former Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) and B2 Bomber design team manager and engineer David L. Swain of Malibu Beach, California are on a mission to bring a new 150 foot (45.72 meter) long, 32 foot (9.75 meter) wide, 2 turbofan, jet engine powered helium/fixed wing/rotary wing airship to market.
The scale won’t be as large as DARPA’s proposed “stratospheric airship” pictured above, currently under development, but the Emotion Airship’s sleek design is intended for military reconnaissance missions, border security and has a wide range of commercial applications primarily due to its unprecedented speed and efficiency.
Designing Airships for Maximum Efficiency
Kelley and Swain believe they have an improved “Zeppelin/Goodyear Blimp Style” aircraft but with a smaller cross section ie: 40% less beam plus fixed wings with a small rotary/wings integral for more range and flying efficiency and improved lift with 50% less drag when compared to today’s standard airships and blimps. The hybrid design calls for 50% helium lift combined with 50% fixed and rotary wing lift combined with jet engine powered propulsion leading to greater range, a cruising speed of 250 knts (287 mph, 461 kph) at 6,500 feet (1,981 meters) at 1.7 lb.s/min. Fuel Burn of J4 jet fuel.
The pair pitched their concept to Lockheed Martin’s Dr. Robert Boyd at the R&D Hanger in Palmdale, California and garnered positive feedback on the originality of their advanced airship concept and design calling it “the best potential airship design he had seen to date.” The same occurred in communications with Sam Ortega, NASA’s Centennial Challenges program manager at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
While NASA is considering an airship design challenge in the near future the expected specifications may not be a match for the specific design and specifications that Emotion Airship has been forging.
As a result, Kelley and Swain are currently seeking investors to create a 1/10th scale, radio controlled, fully functional helium airship. The prototypes, of which two are planned, will be 15 feet (4.57 meters) long with a 32 inch (81.28 cm) beam and 3 decks.
The following graphic details the design and configuration of the Emotion Airship. To download the .pdf or two see the full size version click the following link: Emotion Airship Design.