One of the most infamous events in news history was the explosion of the Hindenburg Zeppelin at the end of its maiden voyage in 1937. The second most famous zeppelin was the Graf Zeppelin, which flew over 1,000,000 miles during its lifetime, including an around the world flight in 1929.
By today’s standards, that’s not very far. The average commercial jetliner travels 52 million miles in its lifetime or approximately 2,100 circumnavigations of the earth, 109 round trips to the Moon or one trip to Mars.
A Short History of Zeppelins
With a burgeoning airplane industry starting to hit its stride in the 1920s and 1930s, the use of zeppelins as commercial passenger conveyors ended. However, with recent advances in materials, science and engineering design and a plentiful supply of hydrogen and helium, the two primary gases used in blimps as well as the rise in the price of gasoline, zeppelins as commercial and passenger transportation may yet make a comeback.
The most well-known blimps these days are Good Year & Metlife but these represent the old school, having been around for decades. Following is a diagram of a typical “old style” blimp:
Goodyear Blimp (Image Courtesy www.goodyear.com)
New Zeppelin Passenger Services To Support New Mode of “Roving”
A company called Seymour Powell has designed what it calls the “Aircruise” or “Clipper of the Clouds” which is a “lighter than air” vehicle. The Aircruise has spacious areas for passengers including living, dining and relaxing areas (see video below). The designers believe traveling slowly will become popular and passengers will enjoy traveling long distances in luxury while viewing the world from the air.
Engineering the Spacious Aircruise
Passenger Zeppelins provide a more comfortable pace of travel and free people from the laborious task of airport travel. Passengers can fly over famous landmarks or cities, taking hours rather than seconds, while taking in these breathtaking views through windows that are much larger than an airplane’s.
Developing technical specifications for the aircraft was challenging. Lift for the ship is provided by the lightest gas (hydrogen) and engines are powered by hydrogen fuel cells. There are four external envelopes that serve as lifting bags with this design, providing a modicum of security should one of the envelopes rupture. The ship will use the most advanced materials available so that the strongest frames made of the lightest materials can be used to build the structure and provide stabilization.
Korea’s Samsung has stepped in to provide financial support so that Seymour Powell can further develop its concept.
The following video shows what life would be like inside a passenger zeppelin, including the relaxing pace of travel and passengers relishing beautiful vistas.
Zeppelins for Cargo, Payload, Freight Transport
The following image shows the Aeroscraft which is developing huge new zeppelins capable of carrying heavy loads.
The History of Passenger Zeppelins
For more information visit Airships.net here.