A study is planned of the use of lighter-than-air (LTA) technology in short-range commuter vehicles (possibly delivering passengers to and from an airport), or as a means of moving overweight or oversized cargo. In the present situation in which it is desirable to minimize the nations fuel consumption rate, it is pointed out that since power is not needed for lift, airships can move vast amounts of cargo more cheaply and efficiently than airplanes, and more quickly than ships. Airship designs and applications have been discussed which include a nuclear-powered dirigible, a giant dirigible packed with 75 million cubic feet of helium capable of lifting payloads of 75 tons, and hybrids which are paired with extra lifting devices such as helicopters or conventional aircraft. Missions envisioned for such craft include cargo movement, natural gas delivery disaster relief, and transportation of equipment too bulky to move over normal highways. Criticisms of the LTA concept are discussed. Safety is recognized as the prime concern. Accidents in which U.S. dirigibles fell apart have been attributed in part to th eremoval of critical keel reinforcement as a concession to weight reduction, in part to excessive stress suffered in turbulence, and in part to the continuous vibration of up to eight engines in perfect alignment on either side. It has been suggested that LTA development be directed through the military, and that a start be made with the modification of those ships built last by the addition of new technology. Only by an evolutionary program, can a reserve of manpower and experience, in the arts and skills which an operational LTA fleet demands, be developed.

  • Corporate Authors:

    MBA Communications, Incorporated

    730 Third Avenue
    New York, NY  United States  10017
  • Authors:
    • Wargo, J
  • Publication Date: 1975-12

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 23-28
  • Serial:
    • New Engineer
    • Volume: 4
    • Issue Number: 11
    • Publisher: MBA Communications, Incorporated

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00132905
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 5 1981 12:00AM