Are Airships about to Rise Again?

Categorized | Transportation

Tags: , ,

At the beginning of the last century the world was on the brink of an airship revolution, but the Hindenburg disaster in 1937, in which 36 people were killed, spelled the end of the airship as a viable form of transport – until now.

This is a guest post by Lucy Pitt who publishes the latest energy news at Latest Green Energy. If you would like to write an article, please read How to Become an Author

GARD Pro Not Registered

At the beginning of the last century the world was on the brink of an airship revolution, but the Hindenburg disaster in 1937, in which 36 people were killed, spelled the end of the airship as a viable form of transport – until now.

Many people have seen images of the Hindenburg bursting into flames and heard the harrowing commentary of radio presenter Herbert Morrison describing the event as it unfolded. For most of us this is the sole image we have of airships, apart from those we see in futuristic movies and the occasional glimpse of a Goodyear Blimp.

Graphical illustration of an airship in the future.

However, many ecologists and aeronautics engineers are hoping that the future has arrived and that airships will take over from cargo planes within the next decade.

The huge global market for trade has lead to exponential growth within the air freight industry, but environmental experts have been warning us for several decades of the damage caused to the environment by harmful emissions from airplanes.

As most sensible people would contend, there is no point dreaming about a world without air freight, because humans tend not to go backwards, so the only other option is to look for an alternative to aeroplanes.

Some of the world’s largest aeronautics companies have been doing just that. Both Lockheed Martin in the UK and NASA in the US currently have state of the art airships in production.

NASA’s first prototype airship will make its maiden voyage next year and Lockheed Martin have already begun extensive tests on their air freight alternative. A spokesperson for the space technology company said that they expected air ships to be able to carry hundreds of tonnes of cargo within the next ten years.

The ability to carry extremely heavy loads over long distances is one reason why the idea of using airships for freight is growing in popularity. In addition, newly designed airships utilise compressor tanks filled with helium to help them stay on the ground while being loaded, whereas before ships would need to be loaded with earth and water to keep them grounded whilst passengers or cargo was boarded.

Air ships are significantly slower than conventional air craft, most are able to reach an average speed of 125kph. However, they also use significantly less fuel than aeroplanes, making them a much greener alternative for air freight. In fact, some experts are contesting that switching to airships could reduce carbon emissions caused by air freight by as much as 90%. There is also the possibility that airships could be fitted with solar panels, making them even more eco friendly.

British company Hybrid Air Vehicle, are already supplying the US army with airships being used for surveillance. Hybrid Air have also signed a deal with an aeronautics company in Canada which could see them building 45 new airships capable of carrying up to 50 tonnes of cargo each.

Only time will tell whether airships will become a viable alternative for carrying freight, but if all goes to plan for manufacturers, streamlined ships gliding majestically across the sky could soon become a commonplace sight.

About Lucy Pitt

Lucy Pitt is a blogger and copywriter who writes on various subjects across the web. Lucy is passionate about environmental issues and green energy. To read more from Lucy visit her blog - Latest Green Energy

Related Posts