Monday 21 September 2009

Airships, a new dawn?

I've always loved airships ever since I read H G Wells' "The War in the Air" in the early seventies.Then along came Michael Moorcock's similarly titled "The Warlord of the Air" and I was truly hooked on these remarkable machines.

In the real world of course, using hydrogen for lift proved too dangerous(Oh the humanity!)and for years the only airships flying were the helium filled Goodyear blimps and eccentric inventors creations.

Now a new structural materiel has been designed, light and tough which is capable of powering electric fans for propulsion, using the sun during the day and fuel cells at night.

Of course it's the American military which has funded the research and they are concentrating on battlefield surveillence as it is much cheaper than putting up all those high maintainance AWACS.

The civilian aspects of it are immense; leisurely travel, perhaps even door to door? Although I doubt the Government would like that, across borders.

Goods in containers could be airshipped straight from the factory right to the customer, bypassing all the current chokepoints.

Smaller versions could support mobile phone masts, giving far better, safer, coverage.

So, maybe along with Bert Smallways and Oswald Bastable I may get a ride on an airship yet...


  1. I think airships look so elegant and I'd love a go in one as well. I wonder if we could ever get back to the more leisurely pace of travel they offer, probably not. Mind you, cruise ships seem to be popular again and they're not exactly speedy compared to air travel.

  2. I would love to take a pop at one of they big balloons, the bang when it goes pop would give me a real buzzzzzz.
    " So, maybe along with Bert Smallways and Oswald Bastable I may get a ride on an airship yet...

    Just ask Jackie Baillie for a ride.

  3. Where's Peter Cushing!! That thing looks like it's full of Daleks.

    Seriously though your are absolutley correct on their as yet untapped potential.

    Though with the way things are at the moment the last thing Westminster would want is a large communter airship full of taxpayers overhead. The temptation to make an unscheduled stop over their tea garden would be too much for some.

  4. Ugly looking things aren't they? I'd have a go in one though because the system appeals to me.

    Do you think you'll be able to smoke inside?

  5. A great idea whose time has come. An idea with elegance and "Je ne sais pas quoi". Too bad the balloon looks like a big fat bum.

  6. Argent, I want one! the 21st century equivalent of a yacht at St Tropez.
    Spook you have just put me off my breakfast.
    Incoming!!! I'm sure there all all sorts of uses I hadn't thought of including that one ;¬)
    Not with all the hydrogen fuel cells in the ship subrosa...
    There are other designs out there scunnert, including a heavier than air "flying wing" that looks very sleek and futuristic.

  7. hmmmmm.. Drop in and have a look!

  8. Conan, you should visit Friedrichshafen on the Austrian-German border beside Lake Constance. They have a Zeppelin museum there.

    It's where they manufactured them. I seriously believe that as the technology has improved so much that in twenty years we will be using them for commercial flights at high altitude next to no emissions, safer etcetera. Think of the possible lifting power they have for use in construction etc...

    The Museum is great, but they do throw you out if you don't have a ticket...

  9. Goodness, what is it about airships? Spooks volunteering to proposition our Jackie in one and subrosa volunteering to "have a go" in one and, presumably, a fag afterwards!

  10. Actually, Conan, sounds like a great idea if only they could capture an enormous amount of hot air. When's the Labour conference?

  11. There was something very significant I was going to say until I read Spooky suggesting intercourse with Jackie Bailey.......

    All rational thoughts have now evaporated, please help me to cauterise that image from my mind, I wonder if the Samaritans will help.