Wednesday, January 30, 2013

High-tech cargo airship being built in California

This is really slick.  I just hope they're using helium!

The massive blimp-like aircraft flies but just barely, hovering only a dozen feet off a military hangar floor during flight testing south of Los Angeles.

Still, the fact that the hulking Aeroscraft could fly for just a few minutes represents a step forward in aviation, according to the engineers who developed it. The Department of Defense and NASA have invested $35 million in the prototype because of its potential to one day carry more cargo than any other aircraft to disaster zones and forward military bases.

"I realized that I put a little dot in the line of aviation history. A little dot for something that has never been demonstrated before, now it's feasible," said flight control engineer Munir Jojo-Verge.
The internal rigid structure is made from high-tech carbon fibers and aluminum.  There is no ballast on board to cause the airship to rise or fall - at least not like it used to be.  My first thought was they must use air.  Compressed air would be denser causing the ship to descend.  Release it and the airship rises.  Turns out I was right.

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