Print 68 comment(s) - last by ArcliteHawaii.. on Jul 5 at 7:29 AM

CargoLifter Blimp  (Source: The Guardian/
Blimps will be faster than ships, sloer than jets, and will be very green

Much of the electronic and gadget gear sold in America today is imported from other countries. Much of this importing happens by ship, but products needing to get to their destination faster are shipped by aircraft like the Boeing 747.

In the future, there may be a third method of getting products of all types across the ocean from Europe and Asia and into the U.S. with a speed between that of ships and jets. According to a UK scientist named Professor Sir David King, a former chief scientific advisor to the government, blimps will be used to ferry freight in the next decade.

The blimp will be considerably faster than sending freight by ship with a top speed for the airship expected to be about 78 mph. However, it would be much slower than current cargo jet aircraft like the 747. The huge benefits of the blimp compared to the 747 is that the blimp has about twice the cargo capacity of the 747 and produces 90% less greenhouse gasses compared to the 747.

King also figures that in about a decade, the blimp could again be ferrying passengers across the oceans. Another huge potential benefit of blimps over jet aircraft is that the blimp wouldn’t need an airport. The blimp would be able to hover over a loading area and load cargo by way of an integrated lift system.

The fact that the blimps don’t need an airport to load and unload also makes them well suited for humanitarian mission where airports aren’t available and lots of cargo capacity is needed. 
The Guardian reports that blimps were very popular in the 1920s, but quickly fell from popularity after the Hindenburg disaster. The modern blimps would use helium to float over the oceans.

Blimps are still being developed and the U.S. military has an eye on the technology for potential use. King cited development of blimp technology by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. King said, "There are an awful lot of people we talk to who say this is going to happen. This is something I believe is going to happen."

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By PAPutzback on 7/1/2010 10:12:11 AM , Rating: 3
I see some cool stunts showing up in the movies. And a new run of Fast and Furious sequels.

By Brandon Hill on 7/1/2010 10:30:23 AM , Rating: 5
Whenever I think airship, I think Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:

**Throws German dude out the window**

"No ticket."

By NullSubroutine on 7/2/2010 1:29:50 AM , Rating: 3
I think of that, and Fringe.

By skyship007 on 7/2/2010 6:50:21 PM , Rating: 2
Hi folks,
The 517 million dollar LEMV contract for Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV)and Northrop Grumman is a very different proposition from the dreaded German Cargolifter. HAV are a real airship company with a great product in the HAV 304 / Skycat. Cargolifter was an LTA industry joke, it was designed to take money from both ignorant investors and the EU, spend a lot of it on themselves and then throw the rest away on crazy sub contracts. The never even finished the drawings yet alone built a sensible blimp. Their only legacy was a giant hangar near Berlin that is now a greenhouse.
They did nothing, but HAV a real airship company will change aviation history with their hybrid airship.
RRegards JB (LTA comedy site )

By ArcliteHawaii on 7/5/2010 4:50:33 AM , Rating: 2
Hey Skyship,

This is of particular interest to me and the 1.2 million other people that live out here in Hawaii where 95% of our food is imported. When oil prices went through the roof a couple of years ago, all the food prices went up, too, especially fresh fruit and veggies which are flown in. I started to imagine that I'd have to give up any fresh fruit and vegetables that couldn't survive being surface shipped (like anything other than apples, oranges, carrots, and potatoes). But an airship travelling at 80 mph could reach Hawaii from L.A. in 48 hours, which is plenty fast for fresh food. And they could be built with PV cells on top and run hybrid engines, further increasing fuel economy, thus keeping shipping cost impact on food low. And finally, such airships could be flown autonomously by remote control, further reducing shipping costs (no room needed for life support or extensively trained pilots). You'd only need someone to remotely handle them for take-offs and landings. Autopilot would take them over the ocean.

I look forward to the day when our air cargo is handled in vehicles like these, and airliners can be relegated to just bringing passengers in and out of the islands.

By Donovan on 7/1/2010 10:41:50 AM , Rating: 3
I don't know if it would be easier, but it would certainly be less valuable to hijack. Flying a blimp into a large skyscraper probably won't have much effect, and they aren't going to have passengers on them (just medium-priority cargo). There's also the interesting possibility that the military could shoot holes in a hijacked blimp that would result in a soft landing if there were hostages on board.

By phxfreddy on 7/1/2010 10:58:05 AM , Rating: 3
Greenhouse this greenhouse that! poor "journalists" would have nothing to write about if they did not make up these crisis' about they use less fuel and thus cost less to operate???? If that is true they will take off. If not then they will not proliferate!

Its a geometric progression:

(.999)^N dies.

(1.001)^N explodes to the up side.

I don't know why I bother trying to educate you boobs.

By hughlle on 7/1/2010 12:09:17 PM , Rating: 2
unless it was at such an altitude that by the time it was still 500ft from the ground, all the gas had since escaped. choose your calibre wisely :)

By stromgald30 on 7/1/2010 4:17:39 PM , Rating: 1
I agree with you on the hijack/terrorist thing, but if a blimp is going to hold so much cargo and move so much slower than a jet, I think piracy may be the bigger issue than terrorist hijacking.

By surt on 7/1/2010 5:18:38 PM , Rating: 4
Boats are cheaper than airplanes for the pirates, and blimps at least have the option to travel over land routes to avoid piracy if need be. They should be much less piracy prone than existing shipping methods.

By tygrus on 7/1/2010 7:30:15 PM , Rating: 3
How would blimps dodge the storm when travelling to a storm/cyclone/hurricane. I guess it would have to wait a few days.

The last big blimp disaster was more likely the coated outer coverring burning not what was inside.

By ArcliteHawaii on 7/5/2010 5:12:44 AM , Rating: 2
The blimps can travel at 80 mph (125 kph). Hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones travel about 5-15 mph. Storm direction is also fairly predictable. So, not only could a blimp easily out run a hurricane, but it's a simple matter to devise a route that misses the storm so the blimp doesn't need to wait.

By bh192012 on 7/2/2010 12:34:36 PM , Rating: 4
How would a pirate take over a blimp? A plane would fly right past. A Helicopter would have to chase it with guns pointed at it and a loudspeaker? Maybe some kind of grappling gun and stuntmen? I'm guessing athorities would have no problem taking said helicopter down. The whole point of piracy is to board the vessle easily/quickly, and that would be incredibly hard with a blimp.

By ArcliteHawaii on 7/5/2010 5:16:42 AM , Rating: 1
Exactly. At 80mph a couple of miles above the earth, these things are pretty much pirate proof. Add to that that they will most likely be remotely piloted and won't be carrying any people who can be held for ransom, and can travel any air route thus avoiding known pirate locations, and this is a non issue.

By skyship007 on 7/1/2010 7:27:11 PM , Rating: 3
Hi folks,
Not for a Cargo version with no passengers! A lot of what sir David King says is true once a civil version of the HAV 304 hybrid airship is available from Hybrid Air Vehicles in Cardington, near Bedord England. Northrop Grumman and HAV have just won the 517 million dollat contract to build the LEMV for the US Army. This is the biggest initial manufacturing order for a prototype aircraft since the Harrier jump jet or Concord and it will change the face of aviation history, or as one reporter who looked at the design model flying said: this is not just going to be your grandmothers blimp.
If you want to see more on modern airships, past, present and future see: or if you just want a helium sniffing laugh try the worlds only lighter than air comedy site, with lots of funny pictures and U tube links fit for all the family.
Regards Bond, James Bond.
(Skyship blimp pilot in a View to a Kill)

By skyship007 on 7/1/2010 7:28:30 PM , Rating: 2
Hi folks,
Not for a Cargo version with no passengers! A lot of what sir David King says is true once a civil version of the HAV 304 hybrid airship is available from Hybrid Air Vehicles in Cardington, near Bedord England. Northrop Grumman and HAV have just won the 517 million dollat contract to build the LEMV for the US Army. This is the biggest initial manufacturing order for a prototype aircraft since the Harrier jump jet or Concord and it will change the face of aviation history, or as one reporter who looked at the design model flying said: this is not just going to be your grandmothers blimp.
If you want to see more on modern airships, past, present and future see: or if you just want a helium sniffing laugh try the worlds only lighter than air comedy site, with lots of funny pictures and U tube links fit for all the family.
Regards Bond, James Bond.
(Skyship blimp pilot in a View to a Kill)

By Jeffk464 on 7/2/2010 12:30:19 AM , Rating: 3
80-100hrs to go from LA to Sydney, that is an awful long time to be stuck on a "plane".

By Jeffk464 on 7/2/2010 12:35:16 AM , Rating: 5
Imagine a kid kicking the back of your seat, a fat person spilling over into your seat, and a crying baby for 100 hours.

By ArcliteHawaii on 7/5/2010 5:56:04 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I imagine these things would be strictly cargo and remotely piloted at that.

By bh192012 on 7/2/2010 12:39:15 PM , Rating: 5
So you sneak on board the blimp with your box cutter and tell the pilot to move to the back of the blimp. Then you and your MASSIVE radar signal meander towards the nearest skyscraper at 70 mph with the intention of ramming it with your giant squishy air bag? Ohhhhh I'm scared.

Where is the Gas comming from?
By GruntboyX on 7/1/2010 12:32:43 PM , Rating: 2
So ... this is just a practical question. You augment or replace the shipping industry with blimps. where are you going to get all the Helium or Hydrogen? We can make Hydrogen, but the PR problems of flying Hindenburgs again will be a nightmare. that leaves Helium. Helium is only a natural element and like oil there is only so much. But unlike oil we cant synthetically make it. We have to mine it.

there just isn't enough helium to support this idea. Need to go back to the drawing board.

i have these really cool idea though.. We can use the wind to move boats on the see. It would be so efficient and Carbon friendly. Just need to come up with some technology to harness the oceans wind potential.

By mellomonk on 7/1/2010 2:18:56 PM , Rating: 4
Helium is contained in many natural gas deposits. That is where the vast majority of it is 'refined' from now. A good deal of potentially usable He is never collected and is released when the gas is burned. Further collection combined with are ever increasing natural gas production should be more then enough to meet the relatively modest needs of an airship industry. The current US supply appears to be waning, but new demand could bring production from untapped resources in places such as Algeria and Russia.

A commercial airship doesn't really consume much He after inflation. Modern bag design keeps leakage at a very low rate.

RE: Where is the Gas comming from?
By jukes11 on 7/1/2010 2:32:50 PM , Rating: 2
Dude... fusion reactors. You don't read enough of these "articles."

RE: Where is the Gas comming from?
By AssBall on 7/1/2010 3:06:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but between fusion reactors and batteries we will then run out of lithium.

By jukes11 on 7/1/2010 3:22:15 PM , Rating: 3
Lithium batteries? Carbon-nanotube based storage solutions are imminent according to what I've read here.

RE: Where is the Gas comming from?
By ZachDontScare on 7/1/2010 3:08:41 PM , Rating: 3
Er, where do you think we get the helium we use now? Its not exactly an exotic gas that we dont use. Its used now for welding and other industrial uses. Plus party balloons.

By ArcliteHawaii on 7/5/2010 6:04:39 AM , Rating: 2
See above. Helium is trapped in natural gas deposits and mined from there. Yes, it's a finite resource for which there is no other easily available source, so using it carefully and recycling it (i.e. not wasting it in party balloons) is a good idea.

RE: Where is the Gas comming from?
By JediJeb on 7/1/2010 3:53:19 PM , Rating: 2
Overall hydrogen would still be a good gas to use. PR is the only problem with hydrogen, with the materials we have to day to build the gas bladder from the threat of fire would be minimal. Also a mixture of hydrogen and helium could reduce the flammability. The fire on the Hindenburg was more due to the coating on the outer fabric which is closely related to thermite than it was the hydrogen gas.

By ArcliteHawaii on 7/5/2010 6:06:35 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, given that the vast majority of these will be remotely piloted, and that HE is a rare, irreproducible gas, using H2 is probably the preferable option. In the very unlikely event they do catch fire, there wouldn't be anyone on board anyway.

By roadhog1974 on 7/1/2010 5:59:43 PM , Rating: 3
the sun man, it's full of the stuff.

By Jeffk464 on 7/2/2010 12:44:50 AM , Rating: 2
They were playing around with an idea to use wind to move todays cargo ships. The prototype looked basically like a giant kite, like kite surfers use. There was no need to modify the ship and it was suppose to significantly reduce fuel consumption. Like all of this stuff though, it made the news and then you never hear anything more about it.

Good for avoiding pirates
By OUits on 7/1/2010 11:01:05 AM , Rating: 3
Pirates at sea that is. I'd love to see some Somalian asshats try to 'board' one of these. Not sure if maritime piracy is bad enough to warrant an entirely different shipping option, though.

RE: Good for avoiding pirates
By nafhan on 7/1/2010 1:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
They'd be pretty easy to shoot down as they're very slow. You probably wouldn't even need anything more complicated than an automatic rifle: puncture the gas bag enough times, and it'll crash. Then after it crashes, the "pirates" could pick through the debris for any valuable cargo. I would imagine the gasbag might be able to keep it afloat for a time on the ocean, allowing it be picked over in the event of a water landing.
We've got drug runners building subs, I wouldn't be surprised if Somalian pirates could build aircraft capable of doing 78mph...

RE: Good for avoiding pirates
By Ammohunt on 7/1/2010 1:37:45 PM , Rating: 2
I would imagine the gasbag might be able to keep it afloat for a time on the ocean, allowing it be picked over in the event of a water landing.

Gasbag you mean Al Gore? i bet you are right.

RE: Good for avoiding pirates
By mellomonk on 7/1/2010 1:51:29 PM , Rating: 2
What makes you think they are easy to shoot down? Even a relatively low operating altitude would be out of rifle round range. Modern blimp design has the gas divided into many cells and at rather low pressure. Even a dozen larger 20 mm rounds would release a relatively small volume of gas compared to the total volume. The damaged blimp would have plenty of time to fly back to safe harbor. Inconvenient yes, dangerous no.

Drug running 'semi-submersibles' are not submarines. Rather they are extremely low riding boats with deck designs that allow for wave penetration and snorkled air intakes for the engines. They are extremely hard for marine radars to detect compared to the waves. Simple and ingenious.

RE: Good for avoiding pirates
By ZachDontScare on 7/1/2010 3:16:28 PM , Rating: 3
No, they would not be easy to take down.

For starters, they'll fly far out of range of most weapons. Then, if it does get punctured, the outflow rate of the helium is not high. Its not like a party balloon thats compressing the gas because the balloon is stretched. The air bags in blimps arent stretched, so they dont force the gas out. The helium only leaks out at a very slow pace. The blimp would stay aloft for quite some time before it was forced down.

Now what would be awesome would be the pirates making their own blimps and using those to mount raids. That'd be some seriously cool steampunk action right there.

RE: Good for avoiding pirates
By nafhan on 7/1/2010 4:03:14 PM , Rating: 2
A slightly modified ultralight wouldn't have any trouble keeping up with it's speed, not sure about altitude, though. Lots of punctures or a larger puncture from an improvised explosive device would probably do the trick as far as releasing the gas. The blimp vs. blimp thing would probably work pretty well, too.

RE: Good for avoiding pirates
By bodar on 7/1/2010 9:32:22 PM , Rating: 2
Captain Shakespeare approves.

By ArcliteHawaii on 7/5/2010 6:26:30 AM , Rating: 2
Piracy is a non issue. Since airships are airborne, it's a simple matter of avoiding areas where pirates are known to operate. The two most notorious piracy ridden areas of the world are the coast of Somalia/Gulf of Aden and the Straight of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaysia. Why? Because both of these are natural choke points for massive amounts of shipping. The Gulf of Aden handles all shipping passing through the Suez canal, and the Straight of Malacca handles all ships traveling between East Asia and the West.

Airships have no such restrictions. And if you happen to need to fly from India to Kenya, passing over Somalia (God knows why) then it's simple to plot a route around that area. The route might not be direct, but will at most add an hour or three to the trip. Big deal. It's a pilotless drone delivering cargo. There wouldn't even be any people on board for the pirates to ransom anyway.

By tastyratz on 7/1/2010 10:30:46 AM , Rating: 3
I can see this being an issue. Coastal winds are strong and there are many storms that happen low level which planes can fly over.

Can a blimp fly high enough over the clouds to achieve the same level of avoidance?

Are they able to make the membranes durable enough to sustain impact and not just go down? Besides the medium they are filled with how are modern blimps in comparison to older ones?

By DougF on 7/1/2010 12:06:55 PM , Rating: 2
This brings up an excellent point about reliability of delivery. Ships and aircraft are very reliable movers of cargo, and blimps will have to prove that they are in the same category. Lower costs are O.K., but if your goods are constantly being delayed due to winds/storm cells forcing the blimps to other locations it may turn out to be cheaper in the long run to stick with more dependable, if more expensive, methods of transportation.

By geddarkstorm on 7/1/2010 3:59:56 PM , Rating: 2
It isn't like blimps are a brand new thing never used before. I'm sure in the days of the Zeppelins they worked this out; since the cargo back then was a lot more valuable, being, well, people.

By Omega215D on 7/2/2010 3:32:15 AM , Rating: 2
Oh the humanity!

Now we just need Led Zeppelin to chime in...

By tastyratz on 7/2/2010 11:42:55 AM , Rating: 2
Good point.
The blimp was well proved back then. I cant think of a single famous reference causing me to hesitate.

Oh wait...

I disagree
By nafhan on 7/1/2010 12:54:01 PM , Rating: 3
So, we've got something that is almost as expensive as using an airplane and almost as slow as using a ship. That doesn't sound like something that will "take off", to me.
Blimps may supplement traditional air transport and shipping for niche items and places that don't have good port facilities, but unless something changes will not replace either.

RE: I disagree
By vapore0n on 7/1/2010 1:02:40 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with your disagreement.

Payload on these things is quite small too.

RE: I disagree
By ArcliteHawaii on 7/5/2010 6:51:34 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree with both of your disagreements.

1. Airships use hybrid gas/electric engines and their power can be supplemented by PV cells on their hulls. You can make ten trips via airship vs. one trip in a jet on the same amount of fuel. Given that jet fuel is very expensive, continues to rise, and is a limited resource, cost pressures will force airships into use.

2. In addition, airships can be more safely remotely piloted compared to jets, eliminating the need to have lifesupport and pay pilots in the vehicle, creating additional cost savings.

3. An airship can carry several times the payload of a 747, the largest commercial cargo jet in use.

4. Airships travel 4 times faster than surface ships. That's not "almost as slow as a ship." An airship can deliver grapes from Chile to L.A. or strawberries from Mexico to Hawaii before they spoil. A surface ship cannot.

The only way airships don't become ubiquitous is if there is either a world wide global trade collapse, or there is some incredible breakthrough technology that makes completely electric propeller planes viable (like a lithium battery with 10 times the current power density to weight ratio). Such planes would be faster than blimps, without using fuel. Even then the pilotless nature of blimps, and their ability to operate without an airfield will still mean they will be used.

RE: I disagree
By Alexstarfire on 7/1/2010 5:09:01 PM , Rating: 2
How is a blimp even near the cost of a modern airplane? There is very little technology behind them so the cost of R&D is very low in comparison.

rigid blimps are old
By Murloc on 7/1/2010 11:41:44 AM , Rating: 2
maybe in 50 years this will send them to the graveyard

RE: rigid blimps are old
By rpierce on 7/1/2010 12:00:28 PM , Rating: 2
OMG! That fish blimp is incredible. It looks like a fish that swims through air. Brilliant!

RE: rigid blimps are old
By GraySplatter on 7/1/2010 1:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
Can you imagine being a passenger on that? Swaying back and forth like that, I'd be airsick *and* have coffee spilled on my lap. Ugh!

RE: rigid blimps are old
By ArcliteHawaii on 7/5/2010 6:54:38 AM , Rating: 2
That's cool, but you need propellers to do 80 MPH.

ok ok ok lets think for a minute here
By shin0bi272 on 7/1/2010 11:01:44 PM , Rating: 1
blimps are seriously old tech and while still have a place in society (mostly advertising and enthusiasts) they are no longer useful as transportation tech.

This story reminds me of the one about the company that wanted to put a huge sail on an oil tanker. Cause we didn't claw our way to the top of the food chain to slide down it again in case some people were wondering.

Has anyone here calculated the lifting capacity of a blimp? Then looked up the weight of 1 cargo tanker's payload (not the ship just the cargo it carries)? try 15,000 40ft truck trailers on 1 ship. the entire sky would have to be blanketed in dirigibles to equate to 1 cargo ship.

Strike 9001 for the "green" revolution.

By InvertMe on 7/2/2010 10:16:59 AM , Rating: 2
You are not looking it at correctly. Let's say you ordered 20,000 cell phones and needed them shipped from China to the USA. You could put them on a ship and take 2 weeks to get here, you could put them on a 747 and get them here in a day but cost $10,000 or you could put them on a blimp get them here in 5 days and cost $4000.
(All my figures are completely made up and have no factual basis).

In that instance the blimp wins. I think that's the intent of them if they ever do use them again.

By ArcliteHawaii on 7/5/2010 7:29:08 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, let us think , which you are clearly not doing.

1. Our transportation system is run pretty much exclusively on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are a limited resource, which we must stretch until we come up with something sustainable. If using kites on ships and rigid airships to accomplish this is "sliding down the food chain," what do you suggest?

2. Old tech or new tech is irrelevant. We must use what works. The internal combustion engine is older than blimps. Do you refuse to drive a car because it's "seriously old tech?" The airships of today are made with carbon fiber frames, use advanced composites for the skin, and are filled with helium. They aren't the steel, hydrogen-filled, canvas covered fire-traps of yore.

3. Sails on cargo ships is developing nicely, thank you very much.

4. Airships are not a replacement for cargo ships. Cargo ships are the most efficient way to deliver cargo, but they have two main limitations: they are slow, and they are limited to traveling the sea lanes. Airships are a middle option between jet and sea freight. Produce could be delivered from Israel or Egypt to northern Europe in 24 hours by airship; by cargo ship that would take 5 days, and the food would spoil, or at best have a drastically shortened shelf life. This also could be accomplished in a jet, but then you're doubling the cost to pay for fuel and pilots and the need for several jets to carry the same amount as a single airship.

5. Airships can be remotely piloted, which neither jets nor cargo ships can be, due to safety concerns.

Empire State Building!
By Blight AC on 7/1/2010 12:05:57 PM , Rating: 2
Hrmm, looks like that dock at the top of the Empire State Building might have a chance to see use...

But... probably not.

RE: Empire State Building!
By Omega215D on 7/2/2010 3:30:41 AM , Rating: 2
Which is what struck me as fascinating on an episode of Fringe (Fox) where the alternate NYC skyline was full of dirigibles and the Empire State Building is the docking point. I didn't get a good look at the scene to see how it was made practical (still fiction I know) in the alternate universe.

By bbomb on 7/1/10, Rating: 0
RE: Capacity?
By InvertMe on 7/1/2010 10:43:55 AM , Rating: 2
I seriously doubt that a blimp will ever come close to the carrying capacity of a cargo ship.

No one ever said it would.

Are Editors a Dying Species?
By DougF on 7/1/2010 11:58:42 AM , Rating: 2
Blimps will be faster than ships, sloer than jets, and will be very green

Really? Isn't this stuff painfully obvious before you post it?

I think they are a very good idea
By JediJeb on 7/1/2010 4:08:22 PM , Rating: 2
This is technology that would save money on fuel for certain. Forget about the saving on greenhouse gas emissions, that may or may not be a problem, but if you figure the amount of fuel used to ship cargo by plane versus what this would take you will see a great savings right there.

I'm not sure what altitude they can fly at, but with today's radar and satellite systems you could probably fly around any major storms if need be. Your cargo capacity is only limited by how big you can build your gas bladder compared to the superstructure needed to support it.

One problem that I didn't see addressed though was the possible need for a water supply at the cargo unloading site. As you unload your cargo you either need to take on ballast water or reduce your lifting gas volume. I guess you could compress the gas back into some high pressure tanks which would reduce your lifting capacity if there is no water available so you wouldn't just be venting it out with no way to reuse it. I know that modern designs do not use the metal superstructure inside the gas bladder like the earlier Zeppelins did, so the weight will be reduced allowing greater cargo capacity.

Short of putting sails back on cargo ships, this is the best way I see to move cargo with less fuel versus what we use today. I would really like to see this idea take off.

They are fun to ride in
By KOOLTIME on 7/1/2010 5:35:45 PM , Rating: 2
Well , I can deffinately say they are pretty fun to ride in, got to take 45 min flight in one of the goodyear blimbs long ago, was very fun.

Seems good if they can actually carry that heavy cargo saftely then why not. As being able to land in a field near the warehouse would be tons cheaper then boat docking, and then having to truck currior transport it to the wharehouses as well, which could be hundreds of miles extra in some cases.

landing field
By Chernobyl68 on 7/1/2010 6:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
Lighter than air craft of any kind are suseptible to wind in landing zones. Any blimp that need to load and unload cargo containers with the precision needed to place on a truck, train, or stack would need to be moored at front and back to fix it in place. And, you need an experienced ground crew to handle the field when landing.
Devil's in the details.
in order to be competitive with ship transport, if you assume at blimp is say, 4x as fast as a ship (48kts vs. 12kts) then it need to be only 1/4 as efficient as a ship, to be on the same playing field.
I'd bet across land a train is still more efficient.

By michal1980 on 7/1/2010 9:00:07 PM , Rating: 2
whats that?

How to anchor it?
By Kakao on 7/2/2010 8:39:22 AM , Rating: 2
I know nothing about blimps so how to make a blimp stand still despite of the wind while loading cargo? Is it as simple as with a ship?

By ians55 on 7/2/2010 4:00:17 PM , Rating: 2
... and cannot be hijacked by Somali pirates.

Unexpected cost savings
By Sylar on 7/1/2010 11:34:41 AM , Rating: 1
Article forgets to mention how much money is saved from blimps not needing to take off on a treadmill.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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