Published on Jan 19, 2016
An airship is an airborne vehicle obtaining most of its lift from lighter-than-air gas, usually helium, contained in the envelope.An airship is an aircraft consisting of a cigar-shaped balloon that carries a propulsion system (propellers), a steering mechanism, and accommodations for passengers, crew, and cargo.
Hot air airships offer a phantastic compromise between the ease of use common to hot air balloons and the maneuvrability of real airships. Like balloons, hot air airships can be transported on a trailer. Their deflation does not involve the loss of expensive helium which makes an expensive hangar superfluous.An airship is a self-powered, lighter-than-air craft with means of controlling its flight path. Aircraft like the MetLife blimp have a rich 200-year history. However, the MetLife blimp is not a leftover from a bygone era. Actually, it is a highly technical aircraft. The outer covering of the blimp is called the envelope.There are three categories of airships, Rigid, Semi-Rigid and Non-Rigid.
Airships, which get their shape only in cause of the pressure of the lifting-gas inside the envelope are called airships of the non-rigid type. All extensions, like the fins and the control car, are attached to the envelope. The driving elements are attached to the gondola/control car.Semi-rigid airships are airships, which are a hybrid between a rigid airship and a blimp. Because of the keel construction below the envelope they are also known as keel-airships. There are many parallels to the basic construction of non-rigid airships, but also some advantages of rigid airships are also used in this hybrid construction.
Rigid airships recieve their outer shape through a rigid structure, mostly made of a special aluminum alloy called Duraluminium The structure is formed of longitudinal girder and cross-rings, also made of these girders. The whole structure is covered with fabric to get a better aerodynamic style.
In Mayof 2006, press reports indicate that the US Navy is starting to fly airships again after a hiatus of nearly 44 years. At present, the program utilizes a single American Blimp Company A-170 non-rigid airship. Operations will focus on crew training and research. The program is under the direction of the Naval Air Systems Command and is being carried out at NAES Lakehurst, the original center of US Navy lighter-than-air operations in previous decades.
Several companies, such as Cameron Balloons in Bristol, United Kingdom, build hot-air airships. These combine the structures of both hot-air balloons and small airships. The envelope is the normal cigar shape, complete with tail fins, but is not inflated by helium, but by hot air , which provides the lifting force. A small gondola, carrying the pilot , a small engine and the burners to provide the hot air is suspended below the envelope, below an opening through which the burners protrude.
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