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Judi Lynn

(161,434 posts)
Sun Aug 14, 2016, 06:10 PM Aug 2016

Maiden flight of giant helium-filled airship postponed

Source: Associated Press

Maiden flight of giant helium-filled airship postponed

Jill Lawless, Associated Press

Updated 3:16 pm, Sunday, August 14, 2016

SHORTSTOWN, England (AP) — The makers of a blimp-shaped, helium-filled airship billed as the world's biggest aircraft postponed its maiden flight at the last minute on Sunday.

The 302-foot- (92-meter-) long Airlander 10 was due to take off from an airfield 45 miles (73 kilometers) north of London on the first in a series of test flights.

Stephen McGlennan, chief executive of Hybrid Air Vehicles, said the airship had "a slight technical issue" and there's not time to fix it before darkness fell.

. . .

The aircraft was initially developed for the U.S. military, which planned to use it for surveillance in Afghanistan. The U.S. blimp program was scrapped in 2013, and since then the airship's developer has sought funding from government agencies and individual donors.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/world/article/Giant-helium-filled-airship-due-to-make-maiden-9141747.php

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(40,416 posts)
1. As long as a football field and they were going to use it in Afghanistan?
Sun Aug 14, 2016, 06:22 PM
Aug 2016

What Mach number will it do to avoid the missiles? Or a well placed bullet?

I prefer this use. Might even like to ride in it.



(4,567 posts)
14. It doesn't need speed, just altitude.
Mon Aug 15, 2016, 05:12 AM
Aug 2016

15000ft above ground level will put you out of range of any man-portable missile.


(112,227 posts)
2. "The Flying Bum"
Sun Aug 14, 2016, 07:36 PM
Aug 2016

Apparently the advantage is that it will carry 50 tons of cargo more cheaply than overland transport, as long as it doesn't have to be there quickly. However, it's low and slow and even that Kevlar skin won't protect it in any sort of a war zone.


(24,979 posts)
6. Seriously? A surveillance blimp in a warzone?
Sun Aug 14, 2016, 08:57 PM
Aug 2016

That's going to go well.

Tell me they want to use it for passenger flights, damn it. Or cargo. Something that might make sense in a New Energy world.

EDIT: Oh, I see, they gave up on the surveillance nonsense.

Well bon voyage. Hope it's not a scam like CargoLifter (tm).


(6,017 posts)
12. Meanwhile, the price of helium continues to rise as supplies dwindle,
Sun Aug 14, 2016, 11:16 PM
Aug 2016

...despite claims last year of finding a new way to find and tap new reserves that has yet to prove viable.

But hey, what's a few non-functional MRI's, right?


(8,981 posts)
15. The Helistat was a larger (343 ft to 302 ft) prototype built by the US Forest Service
Mon Aug 15, 2016, 05:43 AM
Aug 2016

between 1979 and 1986 (when it crashed and was destroyed.



LAKEHURST, N.J., July 1— A nine-story-high experimental aircraft that combined four helicopters and a blimp crashed and disintegrated tonight during a test flight at the United States Naval Air Engineering Center here, killing one of five crew members.


The craft is called a Helistat. Designed in particular to haul great loads of timber out of inaccessible virgin forests, it combined a 343-foot-long, one-million-cubic-foot Dacron bag – about five times the volume of a Goodyear blimp – and four old navy helicopters.

Forty-nine years ago, at the same Lakehurst air station, the hydrogen-filled German dirigible Hindenburg exploded only half a mile from the site of tonight’s accident. The Hindenburg disaster killed 36 people and brought to a close the short-lived era of transoceanic flight in lighter-than-air craft. Weight of 98,000 Pounds

In the craft that crashed tonight, the H-34 helicopters and the huge bag were attached to an aluminum superstructure about the size of a small bridge. While the bag and the rotors of the helicopters supplied lift, pusher propellers, one on each helicopter, gave the craft thrust. The Helistat weighed 98,000 pounds.


”It’s a project funded by the U.S. Forest Service,” Ms. Grieco said, ”and they called on the Navy to monitor the engineering progress. It’s not a Navy project. The forest service was testing for the feasibility of using it for logging puposes in inaccessible areas.”

The United States Forest Service expected the Helistat to lift 25 tons of timber and Mr. Piasecki was investigating military uses. But the General Accounting Office, viewing the proposal dubiously, criticized the Government for spending $24 million on the project over the past six years

more at link
16. I can see it from my bedroom window
Mon Aug 15, 2016, 06:35 AM
Aug 2016

So a live update is that it's not doing anything at the moment. We walked out to look at it the other evening, it's an impressive sight - rather more impressive is that R101 was four times larger.
The sheds are an impressive sight in themselves - they are used mostly as sets for films - the Bond films are filmed there. A couple of years ago One Direction held their tour rehearsals there which caused great excitement locally.
I'm not sure of its usefulness, but the idea of it transporting aid appeals to me. And yes, from the back it looks like a great big arse.

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