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Airship Company Gets First Civilian Customer

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the float-into-the-future dept.

The Military 81

Zothecula writes "Hybrid Air Vehicles has recently achieved two massive commercial wins that seem to indicate that the airship has a very rosy future indeed. The aircraft's versatility plus an ability to stay airborne for 21 days enabled HAV to win a 517million contract (€370million) to supply a Long-Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) to the U.S. Army for deployment in Afghanistan starting in 2012. Whilst the LEMV is a relatively small vehicle designed for surveillance, HAV has now announced a civil customer for their heavy-lift variant."

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81 comments

Please.... (2)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333010)

Can I get it with brass dials, tropical wood furnishings and a ballroom? Oh, and steam engines, of course!

Re:Please.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37333430)

They come some other way?

Re:Please.... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333458)

I'm sure the the right investor, you can have your victorian era airship. Which we be kinda cool actually.

Re:Please.... (2)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37335842)

I'd pay a certain premium to fly that way instead of the cattle car conditions of our present style of air travel. My understanding is that much of the cost in air travel is in dealing with the volatile cost of fuel... so maybe traveling by airship could be made affordable.

I took a jet boat from Ft. Myers beach to Key West recently (after the last shuttle launch) that was very nice, and recall thinking it was way better than flying, even if it took a while longer. I'm picturing something like that.

Re:Please.... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37335934)

You could just pay that certain premium by flying first class. Yes, it's a lot more expensive than a cheapest-coach-fare, but it will get you there far faster than an airship will.

Re:Please.... (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37336752)

Oh sure, and I have. Unfortunately it's still not the same. That boat I was talking about was great way to travel. A bit like how those guys were imagining a kind of luxury air ship.

Re:Please.... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37340978)

Hmmm, memo to self : try to get the transport secretary to organise me on the sleeper train home from London, when this bloody job is over!

Re:Please.... (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333576)

It's no good without a lightning gun and a twirly moustache though.

Re:Please.... (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37340540)

Any evil genius worth his mustache would rather build his own lightning gun. A place to put it (next to the cup holder) would be a nice feature, though.

Re:Please.... (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333844)

Reading too much Phil&Kaja Foglio's works? Good.

Re:Please.... (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 2 years ago | (#37334028)

Impossible. :)

(For those who don't know, and might be interested: http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php [girlgeniusonline.com] is the Girl Genius webcomic. It's steampunk, with a good storyline, etc etc. The art is phenomenal, and the Foglios have online versions of several others of their works too (Mythadventures and Buck Godot, both of which were entertaining as well). The art in Girl Genius is so good that I would totally love to have the printed versions ... though I can't justify the cost of them yet.

Let's just say that the comic is Awesome.

Re:Please.... (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 2 years ago | (#37334794)

Impossible. :)

(For those who don't know, and might be interested: http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php [girlgeniusonline.com] is the Girl Genius webcomic. It's steampunk, with a good storyline, etc etc. The art is phenomenal, and the Foglios have online versions of several others of their works too (Mythadventures and Buck Godot, both of which were entertaining as well). The art in Girl Genius is so good that I would totally love to have the printed versions ... though I can't justify the cost of them yet.

Let's just say that the comic is Awesome.

To say nothing of their three (count them, Three) Hugos...

Re:Please.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37362408)

I have a strange desire the dig out my copy of Crimson Skies.

Cruise ship (2)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333100)

I can see a large commercial use for this as a replacement for the traditional cruise ship. Imagine being able to take an air cruise, a nice slow trip across the US at a medium altitude. I think it could be a lot of fun.

Re:Cruise ship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37333250)

Why just cruise ship. Although it is slower than an jet (100mph instead of 800mph), it will provide more comfort and be much cheaper (if you think oil is expensive now, imagine what it will cost in 5-10 years). You may get a room with a bed, shower and a bathroom instead of 30" of leg room. The NY-London flight will be 35 hours instead of 7, but an off shore casino and a ballroom as requested in another comment will take care of that. And if you get bored you can just go to bed.

Re:Cruise ship (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333346)

I would pay the same amount as the flight cost today if I could get that.
35 hours of fun beats 8 hours of airplane every day of the week.

Re:Cruise ship (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333426)

The cruising speed of a 767 is 533MPH, were you thinking in KM/H?

But other than that I would love these, and at least in the US they could end the whole "highspeed rail" debate. These guys get similar performance, w/o the land/infrastructure costs.

Re:Cruise ship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37334820)

Yep, messed up metric and imperial units

Re:Cruise ship (2)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333558)

Although it is slower than an jet (100mph instead of 800mph), it will provide more comfort and be much cheaper (if you think oil is expensive now, imagine what it will cost in 5-10 years).

I've always been something of an airship buff and would love to see this, but I can guarantee you it will never happen. The problem is speed matters for a lot more than just convenience. If (using your numbers) your plane is 8x faster than an airship, that means you can sell eight times as many tickets over a given time frame. Or, to look at it another way, as a production airship of that size will cost about the same as a 747, by running a plane instead of eight airships you can save yourself ($300m x 7) $2.1bn in capital outlays.

Realistically, with a more rigid hull you could fly airships at about a quarter of commercial jet speeds, since for fuel-consumption reasons they don't fly jets at top speed. Even then the numbers just don't work out unless you can get passengers to pay substantially more for a ticket. Plus, there are other problems. Maintenance on airships is likely to be more expensive, and they require more frequent major overhauls. They're not safe to fly in weather conditions that are no problem for jets, and long before you reach unsafe conditions the passengers will be turning green.

Re:Cruise ship (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333620)

Can these perhaps lift more than a 747?
Why would airships require more maintenance?

This craft is not a regular airship though so weather should be less of an issue.

Re:Cruise ship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37333774)

The jet will require massively more maintenance. Furthermore, accessibility simply isn't available to most jets in large segments of the world. Also, the fuel savings can be massive for the HAV. The simple fact is, fuel costs pale in comparison to capitol expenditures for jets. There is nothing in the gp post above which is an apples to apples comparison. At best, its naive.

Re:Cruise ship (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 2 years ago | (#37334828)

Not to mention the difference between "Engines out -- we're all gonnna DIE....." vs. "Engines out. Bother. Well, best set down and effect repairs then. If the Chief Steward were to be so kind as to inform the passengers? Capital. Press on, then."

Re:Cruise ship (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37348966)

My understanding was that fuel costs are a major problem for commercial airlines, which is why there's always such a push to make passenger jets more fuel efficient per passenger and they employ personnel to deal with hedging fuel prices. If maintenance (w/ additional labor) and fuel costs are significantly less on these (I'd guess they are) I could see that making up a significant part of the # of flights difference between 100mph and 530mph, even if the sunk cost on each vehicle were the same. Make them a bit more expensive per ticket, et voila, a nice new mode of travel. At least, I hope!

Re:Cruise ship (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333926)

Can these perhaps lift more than a 747?

Probably so, but since you take so long to reach your destination you need more cargo capacity. I once flew from Portland to Frankfurt. IIRC it took eleven hours or so. The airline provided a couple meals and some toilets.

The same trip in an airship would take at least two full days. So instead of two meals per passenger we have six. And nobody is going to sit in a seat for two full days, so the passengers need more room to stretch out. They'll need somewhere to sleep and shower. Smokers will need somewhere to smoke. More water, more capacity for waste.

Why would airships require more maintenance?

Because the envelope is built out of some kind of high tech fabric instead of painted aluminum. It's more susceptible to damage from sunlight and weather. On top of that, helium becomes fouled over time with impurities that migrate through whatever you're using to contain it. So you have to periodically pump out the helium, clean it, and pump it back in, which is a nontrivial task for something that large. Plus you have the same sorts of maintenance to do that the 747 owner has - things like servicing engines after so many hours of operation.

This craft is not a regular airship though so weather should be less of an issue.

Weather is an issue for airships because of the cross-section, not the relative lack of power. From the picture I don't see much in the way of advantage over a more traditional teardrop design.

Re:Cruise ship (1)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 2 years ago | (#37336014)

On top of that, helium becomes fouled over time with impurities that migrate through whatever you're using to contain it. So you have to periodically pump out the helium, clean it, and pump it back in, which is a nontrivial task for something that large.

Solution: Hydrogen!

Re:Cruise ship (1)

flowwolf (1824892) | more than 2 years ago | (#37334060)

Realistically, the cruise ship market exists. Obviously they aren't trying to sell people on getting to their destination fast and they also have a much higher turn around than airliners as well. As the OP described it, it would be a leisure cruise and there is more profit opportunities in that business than just admission tickets. Business travel and leisure travel are two entirely different business models.

Re:Cruise ship (2)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37343696)

Nobody knows if the cruise (air) ship market exists or not. There are so many variables nobody knows how much you'd have to charge to make the whole thing profitable beyond "a whole lot". Boeing expects to build 1000 of its new 787 "Dreamliner", so it could divide the multi-billion development cost over enough units to keep it reasonably priced at $200m or so.

How many airships could a cruise industry support? Maybe a half-dozen or so? In the mid 1930s when the Hindenburg was constructed the ship cost about the same amount as a destroyer (which is why Hitler wasn't fond of them). It's probably a good parallel for today, when a destroyer costs something like $2bn-$4bn. The final passenger capacity for the Hindenburg was 72. Now, with new materials we could probably carry more people even using less efficient helium as the lifting gas, and we wouldn't need an engineer stationed at every engine, so the crew complement of 40 could be reduced somewhat. On the other hand, if you didn't provide some of (heavy) amenities people are used to on cruises nobody would book a cruise.

Say you ended up with a passenger complement of 200. The useful life of the ship would be a few decades under the rosiest scenario. How much would you have to charge to recoup billions in design and construction costs? Are there that many filthy rich people in the world dying to take such a cruise? It all adds up to a gamble with an enormous downside and a tiny upside. Who would fund something like that?

Re:Cruise ship (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37340630)

Accomodations for sleeping on the airship could mean you are actually well-rested an presentable when you get to your destination. That alone might be worth it, for some people.

Re:Cruise ship (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37343180)

Why would they do that when, in the same amount of time and for 25% of the cost, they could fly a jet to their destination, spend a day lounging by the hotel pool, and sleep the night in a normal bed?

Re:Cruise ship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37333580)

That's great, except for the fact we're getting close to the end of our readily available helium supply.

You think oil will be expensive in 5-10 years, imagine what it'll cost to lift one of these puppies by then. Unless they go back to hydrogen... anyone else want to ride the Hindenburg II?

Re:Cruise ship (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333718)

you know, the hindenburg was an aberration. Hydrogen based airships had operated safely by the thousands up to that point, and many more operated safely after that. Everyone points at the hindenburg and screams 'HYDROGEN BAD!' but numerous studies have shown that, based on the rate the craft burned up at, hydrogen was not the primary cause of the incident. (hydrogen flashes off fast, the hindenburg took a rather long time to burn down).

Re:Cruise ship (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333860)

Hydrogen worked fine. Hindenburg's registration number was LZ129, the 129th zeppelin (actually 115th, as 14 of those were uncompleted military models at the end of WW1) produced in Germany.

Even on Hindenburg, 2/3rds of the passengers and crew survived the crash. What's the survival rate on airplane crashes?

Re:Cruise ship (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 2 years ago | (#37335450)

> What's the survival rate on airplane crashes?

Pretty good actually once the plane has landed

Re:Cruise ship (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37340662)

> What's the survival rate on airplane crashes?

Pretty good actually once the plane has landed

What's the langing rate on airplane crashes?

Us hydrogen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37334262)

According to the TV documentaries I've watched it wasn't the hydrogen that caught fire and caused the accident. The fire started when static electricity sparked across gaps in the outer covering which had been coated with a highly flammable substance. So, hydrogen actually has a rather good safety record.

Re:Us hydrogen (1)

N!k0N (883435) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338576)

According to the TV documentaries I've watched it wasn't the hydrogen that caught fire and caused the accident. The fire started when static electricity sparked across gaps in the outer covering which had been coated with a highly flammable substance. So, hydrogen actually has a rather good safety record.

yeah -- essentially it was thermite...

Re:Cruise ship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37333358)

It'd just have to be low enough(ie, have enough oxygen at altitude) to be able to go on a "deck" so people could get some fresh air

Re:Cruise ship (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37335038)

FAA rules require pilot on supplemental oxygen above 10k ft. I have skied/boarded 12k mountains, and I believe airliners are pressurized to the equivalent of 8k, so I would guess somewhere between 8 and 10.

Re:Cruise ship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37342406)

I can see a large commercial use for this as a replacement for the traditional cruise ship. Imagine being able to take an air cruise, a nice slow trip across the US at a medium altitude. I think it could be a lot of fun.

It would be fun until the first hint of turbulence.

Too soon? (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333224)

Would purchasing one with a printed skin texture based on the appearance of the burning, partially skeletonized, Hindenburg shortly before its fatal plunge be tasteless?

Because I am tempted...

Re:Too soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37333318)

Slightly off-topic, but riding the space shuttle isn't really that much different from riding the Hindenburg... they're both full of rocket fuel. Why not put a texture of Challenger on there instead?

Re:Too soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37333722)

"For the last time, the LEMV is filled with non-flammable helium!"

CmdrTaco update (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37333234)

CmdrTaco? Total faggot cunt.

This is awesome! (1)

g253 (855070) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333256)

I'd love to fly in one of these, and I'd love to see them being adopted massively. As far as I understand Zeppelins were abandoned because of the war and bad mojo after the Hindenburg, in any case they seem to make perfect sense nowadays.

Re:This is awesome! (2)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333876)

If that had been the reason we would be drowning in zeppelins nowadays, as cars and airplanes have had a much worse track record and see what happened there.

The problem was more that it is really difficult to get them to fly profitable. You need ground crew, they're very sensitive to heavy winds and they take a lot of fuel compared to an airplane due to a distinctly un-aerodynamic profile.

This blimp seems to have solved most of the issues due to its shape, requiring no groundcrew and much more stable in the face of even heavy winds. I'm curious to see how the fuel efficiency works out.

I still don't understand why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37333304)

... the airship hasn't been tried again.
We know, blah blah fire etc. How many planes have taken the proverbial nosedive to destruction as a percentage of all that has existed?
How many airships went that way as a percentage too?

Plus, we know significantly better materials science compared to *those* days.
It'd be significantly safer, lighter, faster and stronger than anything that came out of those years.

I'd sooner travel in an airship than I ever will a plane.

So, really, why haven't we done more of this?
Why are we still using ass-backwards wasteful planes?
Hell, the plane companies would save a lot of money, they surely should have some sort of interest

Re:I still don't understand why... (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333470)

Especially as we can now mount solar panels on the top of these things for a very cheap fuel source. Top up the power with the panels. It's been done, just on a one man airship.

Re:I still don't understand why... (2)

Adriax (746043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37335244)

Solar for supplemental power, fully weather simulated flight plan could save a ton of fuel by using every available wind along the way.
Heavy assistance from an autopilot could compensate for side winds long before a human pilot could notice.
GPS enhanced with ground based transponders could allow the tethering and other ground operations to be almost completely automated.

Re:I still don't understand why... (2)

NSash (711724) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333726)

So, really, why haven't we done more of this?

The main problem isn't fire. It's that that they require large ground crews to manage and airplanes are much faster. When it comes to cargo, they're more efficient than airplanes but less efficient than trains or ships. There are niches where they could be useful, but they don't make sense as a general replacement for airplanes or railroads.

Re:I still don't understand why... (2)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 2 years ago | (#37334898)

So, really, why haven't we done more of this?

... It's that that they require large ground crews to manage....

[Citation Needed]. Highly skilled or just somewhat trained? How many? I'd guess the head count could be managed. Specialised heavy tether vehicles or tethering installations, cable capture and spool down -- these could be engineered, and could bring the personnel cost down. And you could bloody well earth them against static.

Re:I still don't understand why... (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339662)

Because someone is going to walk on to it with a sweater just out of the dryer suffering with static cling and it's going to be all "OH THE HUMANITY." A terrorist doesn't need to plant a bomb on it, the whole thing is a bomb. And smokers, don't get me started.

Some other, slightly faster ship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37333328)

Hello Airplanes? It's Blimps, You Win

Can't wait for the IPO frenzy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37333410)

Everyone will be like, "it's a bubble" and I'll be "no way man, it's a dirigible". You can't argue with that. Buy on margin and hold til the cows come home.

rosy future? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37333446)

The US sell-off of helium [independent.co.uk] means the price will exponentially inflate (heh) after 2015, once the US reserves are gone. The price of helium now is around twenty times too low, based on future needs and available supply.

Helium, also, slowly escapes into outer space, and we have to go to space to get it (barring future discoveries of unknown gas pockets), or wait millions of years for uranium/thorium decay to replenish underground stocks.

So, back to hydrogen airships? Just avoid powdered aluminum paint.

All in the costs...as always (3, Interesting)

TrueSatan (1709878) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333490)

In the 1980's I worked for a company that supplied the engines (Mercedes Benz motor car engines brought up to aviation standards) used in gondolas run under Airship Industries (maker of them) blimps. The gondolas ran as mobile generator sets and saw significant usage to power the lighting for the LA Olympic games. Other airships flew over the games sites so as to provide a high vantage point for security services to monitor the event. This led all involved into a false feeling of a new dawn for airships...fancy plans were drawn up for them to run tourist trips in and out of the Grand Canyon for instance and over Ayres Rock in Australia. Some even hoped for African wildlife tourism to be involved and for trips up the Amazon...then we came to our senses as the company (AI) went under. The cost of filling a large blimp with helium is immense and the wretched things leak! To make matters worse in order to move a blimp around a country one either has to wait ages while it covers any noteworthy distance under its own steam or deflate the thing (usually by venting all the helium) and transport the remaining items by more conventional means (road, rail, air or ship) then pay out for a new fill of helium. This made the costs look pretty awful pretty fast. High winds and airships aren't a good combination so should the prevailing conditions grow nasty the owners of the blimps were, again, forced into a deflate/re-inflate cycle so as to protect the structures. In short almost all the proposed uses of the blimps were unable to see a reasonable return on investment and those that had any chance of same were too few to keep the company making the blimps running. I very much doubt that an economic case that can be viable long-term really exists for all but a tiny number of large civilian use blimps in anything but an unrealistic pipe-dream. Small military use ones may be a niche product with a future and that's where money might be made off of these things.

Re:All in the costs...as always (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333672)

This is not a traditional airship. As it is a hybrid air vehicle it generates only 40% of its lift via gas, this means it is far more stable. We will have to wait and see if this makes a big difference or not.

Re:All in the costs...as always (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 2 years ago | (#37334930)

Make them large enough and the solar loading could turn a large, lenticular airship into a hot air balloon. Fly for free during daylight, stored energy or fueled torch for evening use. Weather dependent, but hey, air is free...

Few Uses (1)

Bensam123 (1340765) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333492)

I do like the idea of airships, but they have very few uses as far as I can tell, besides recon which is being considered. If you want to go somewhere, they wont take you anywhere fast, which is pretty much what everything else does.

I do think they would have a relatively strong role as a forward military base though. Being able to stay in the air for quite a long time as well as combining it with HTA technology could yield a very formidable forward base of operations. Especially if you consider that there are really no ultra long term aircraft besides UAVs. We have some that stay up in the air quite awhile, but nothing close to days without in air refueling. Maybe I've seen too many sci-fi shows? But honestly it seems like the perfect match.

Re:Few Uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37333786)

You have seen too many sci-fi shows. As a forward base its seems bloody terrible. It would need to be of a size that would make it horribly vulnerable to any number of weapons. And you can only harden it but so much before you sacrifice its ability to do anything but not get shot down. As an unmanned communications node, observation post.. sure, it'll probably do pretty well.

As a durable cargoes transport, its decent. Seagoing vessels shipping does a lot of canal transits (Panama, Suez) or they go around the cape (Horn, Good Hope). And if your destination isn't at a port, they need to be unloaded and hooked to terrestrial transport. An airship isn't terribly fast but can go direct-to-destination.

Also, of course, you can't get a cruise ship over the grand canyon. Not everybody wants to get where they're going fast.Sometimes the point is the trip itself and what you see on the way.

what is WRONG with that artist?!!! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333496)

Looks [gizmag.com] like he's fantasizing about the forceful invasion [gizmag.com] of the North Pole and looting [gizmag.com] of Santa Claus' workshops!
Hopefully Pia Zadora will put an end to his evil schemes!

In related news... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37333524)

Al-Qaeda begins issuing bows and arrows.

Re:In related news... (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37335744)

It would take a heck of a lot of arrows to make enough holes for it to come down in at an alarming rate and one assumes a fireproof material wouldn't be that hard to use in construction.

As an anti-terrorism bonus, running one of these into a building would just crumple the nose a bit and make people watching on the ground snicker.

Circle of technology? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37333566)

I find it kind of interesting that the first use of airborne(-ish) reconnaissance by the US military was by balloon back in the 1860s. Soldiers would use balloons tethered to the ground behind the front lines both to make battelfield maps and observe the action. Now, 150 years later, the US military is going back to using inflated ships because they are unmatched in terms of loiter time and stealth (no noise, can be made of signature-reducing material, can fly up out of naked eyesight). All the cutting-edge technology we've developed over the years, and yet we still go back to century-and a half year(or just century-year old if you go back to dirigibles) old technology and tactics.

Very good. (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37334046)

Very interesting indeed, this could become a competitor to airlines, not only in price, but also in comfort (not in speed though).

I would love to take a ride in one of those. Even cooler would be to buy and own one, and just live in it!

What the hell, I would want to try it - live on an airship, spending most of my time in the air!

Ice Road Truckers (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37334338)

Maybe this will kill off all the 'Ice Road Truckers' tv shows. One can only hope.

Re:Ice Road Truckers (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 2 years ago | (#37335496)

And the start of a new 'Ice Air Truckers' show ...

  Air truckers running ahead of ice storms, joisting for a spot at the loading bay, fixing the helium leak at Canyon pass

Re:Ice Road Truckers (1)

canadian_right (410687) | more than 2 years ago | (#37336186)

Sounds like you might have actually read the article and noticed that the civilian use is transport in the Canadian north where global climate change is making many ice roads and bridges either unsafe, not last long enough to bring up a years supplies, or just not exist.

A description of the first civilian customers (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37335476)

It's a small group of misfits, consisting of:
1. A guy with spikey hair and red armor.
2. A guy wearing some sort of ninja-like outfit who can really kick.
3. A gal wearing white robes.
4. Somebody with a pointy yellow hat and blue robes. All you can see of the face is their eyes.

They keep on going on about reviving the power of the orbs or some-such, and are carrying a wide array of crazy-looking potions and a lot of gold that they use to pay for everything.

Better alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338852)

The problems with hybrids are given above - high cost, limited utility.
There is another possibility with greater potential.
Heavy lift, slow speed, low wing load aircraft with a novel configuration.
See
Concordlift.com
 

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