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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, DerekL1963 said:

So how are those mines moving ore now?

They are in the planning stages still. Part of the planning is how to get people, equipment, and ore to and from the sites. Using airships will make them more viable than building roads on permafrost.

Google "northern canada mines airships" for a list of articles about these plans.

For example: http://fortune.com/2016/11/16/lockheeds-hybrid-airships-launch-customer/

Edited by StrandedonEarth

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8 minutes ago, StrandedonEarth said:

They are in the planning stages still.

Yeah.   A mining company with no mines plans to lease airships from an aviation company which doesn't own any airships but which plans to buy them from a company which hasn't built anything but a subscale demonstrator...    No offense, but I've heard that story before.  (Or it's equivalent, many times over the last forty years.)   Let's wait and see if anything actually pans out.

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10 hours ago, DerekL1963 said:

Which claim you should address by simply googling "balloon borne telescope".

I now did even better: took a look at wiki.
12 balloonoscopes since 1950s?

"Sunrise". 1 meter telescope at 30 altitude. Two missions: 6 and 5 days long, 4 years between,

"PoGOLite". 2011, 5 hours in the air, flight cancelled due to helium leak. The second mission was planned to 2012, but cancelled.

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1 hour ago, kerbiloid said:

I now did even better: took a look at wiki.

No, you didn't do better.  You did worse.   The link I provided was to a google search - hundreds and thousands of resources.  You looked at one resource.
 

1 hour ago, kerbiloid said:

12 balloonoscopes since 1950s?

Twelve scopes listed on Wikipedia.  Let's look at just some of the ones not listed on Wikipedia.  SuperBIT, SPIDER, STO, EBEX, PILOT, TIGRE, GRAINE, FIRBE...(All of these were found on the first few pages of the Google search I linked.)   Then there's EUSO and GRIPS....  That's ten projects not listed on Wikipedia.  

I suppose I could keep looking and make it an even twelve or more, but I'm done here.  You're wrong, and that's that.
 

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On 17/3/2017 at 7:00 AM, kerbiloid said:

Btw how would they send a repair team? Airplane can't, rocket can't. Only on lesser zeppelins. The docking of two zeppelines 40 km above the Earth would be a magnificent show.

The "idea" is to just land the zeppelin, and the atmosphere above the stratosphere IIRC is not that turbulent.

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One thing I'd always thought about cargo airships is that they can carry large pieces of cargo that can't be broken down into smaller things, and can also act as stable aerial platforms. This enables us, for instance, to carry fully-assembled wind turbines slung underneath right to their installation point, and lower it into position using airship-mounted winches, essentially using it as a gigantic aircrane.

The other thing I can think about is that a cargo airship can be incredibly useful if we have a launch pad on a mountain. This vehicle can lift entire rocket stages, fully-assembled, right on top of the pad, and stack them into position.

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On 16.3.2017 at 5:32 PM, DerekL1963 said:


Only among people with the memory of a goldfish, the rest of us remember the last fifteen times companies were working on "new, modern" cargo airships of various kinds and how they went precisely nowhere.  Every five to eight years since (roughly) the mid 60's, somebody with more money than sense discovers airships...  With great fanfare they announce a new designs and there's tons of cool concept art of lovely silvery whales cruising serenely through the sky.  Many of the even get so far as producing flying hardware...  and then reality sets in.

There's no market for them.  They're a solution in search of a problem.

Though they're compared to aircraft (because they fly), they're not actually competing in the same market.   Aircraft handle cargos that are speed sensitive, a market segment airships cannot compete in.   Cargos that aren't speed sensitive (and all bulk cargos) go via ships, trains, and trucks - and airships aren't particularly competitive in that market.   There's significant capital investment plus considerable infrastructure investment...  and airships are vulnerable to weather conditions that do no more than require the crews of competing modes to don a light jacket.

They could compete in underdeveloped parts of the world, but those parts of the world have insufficient demand for cargo in the amounts airships carry to offset the entry costs.  They could compete with heavy lift aircraft, but that market is pretty small and well served by existing vehicles.  The low speed of the airship also means you'd need more of them to service the existing demand - running smack into the same entry cost wall.  The DoD keeps looking at them, but they keep running into the same problems as commercial operators, they're insufficient replacements for existing modes while having significant vulnerabilities and a high entry cost.

Yes, heavy lift of oversize parts and lift to remote areas is the only two marked who are really interesting for airships. 

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Posted (edited)

[snip]

Anyhow, this thread started as a bit of a "this is cool, so Kerbal, love it!" kind of thread, and [snip]

Let's talk about THAT- instead of their economics or engineering- which are well-known and DO support their usefulness: they are cheaper than planes, faster (but more expensive) than ships, require less ground infrastructure than trains, and fill a niche in the balance between the three no other type of vessel does...

So, does anyone have any cool pictures/documentaries/articles about airships they'd like to share?  [snip]

Regards,

Northstar

Edited by Vanamonde
Keep it on-topic, please.

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43 minutes ago, Northstar1989 said:

Let's talk about THAT- instead of their economics or engineering- which are well-known and DO support their usefulness: they are cheaper than planes, faster (but more expensive) than ships, require less ground infrastructure than trains, and fill a niche in the balance between the three no other type of vessel does...

"Jack of all, king of nothing"

Also, if that's the case, you're in the wrong subforum. Isn't RL is terrifying that a single truck driver's strike can indefinitely delay a rocket launch ? Or the base for counting system of aliens in movies is less alien to base 10 than many of the bases used around the world ? RL is the key here.

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, YNM said:

"Jack of all, king of nothing"

Also, if that's the case, you're in the wrong subforum. Isn't RL is terrifying that a single truck driver's strike can indefinitely delay a rocket launch ? Or the base for counting system of aliens in movies is less alien to base 10 than many of the bases used around the world ? RL is the key here.

Saying let's not reinvent the wheel here and debate aomething that is already a known and accepted fact is not straying from real life.  Just the opposite.

Airships are well-proven, and used to fill a certain niche in civilian transport and warfare.  They were abandoned because of the Hindenberg disaster- within a couple years (in some cases MONTHS) of it many of the largest airships, some of which had already been in commercial use and serving passengers for some time then, were simply abandoned and scrapped for materials- I remember reading about how one brand-new commercial airship passenger liner was scrapped within a couple months of the Hindenberg and its parts later sold for a few dollars each or something...

Simply put, the Hindenberg was an ENORMOUS disaster for airship PR, and that is the only reason they're not commonly used anymore.  Business travelers and reporters may need to travel fast, but if you told your average overseas tourist that they could take a 28 hour trip across the Atlantic in the lap of luxury AND the ticket would cost a little less (a LOT less if they're willing to travel in cramped comditions like on an airplane's economy-class) most would simply JUMP on the tickets- until you then told them said tickets were on an airship.  Many travelers still hear "airship" and think "Hindenberg, highly explosive, filled with Hydrogen", they don't realize modern airships now use Helium...

Speaking of which, the thing that might ultimately kill modern airships is the ongoing Helium Shortage, not any problem with the underlying technology.  If the US government stop selling Helium at prices FAR below what the limited supply dictates and we keep using it in Children's balloons and such silly, wasteful, stupid nonsense, there won't be any left for more worthwhile pursuits like airships.

Speaking of which, can we PLEASE talk about things that aren't already established facts.  Airships work- stop debating it.  I know you like to poo-poo every single exciting technology's feasibility that comes through these forums YNM, but airships aren't a new ones by any means- their usefulness was proven over a century ago, just like electric cars or biochar (over 10 centuries ago in that case)- they're just a technology that for various now less-than-compelling reasons was abandoned, and changing market forces (such as the inevitable rise in oil prices over time as demand exceeds the limited and ever-diminishing supply, and explosive economic growth in areas of Africa greatly exceeding the ability of governments and corporations to keep up with conventional infrastructure like airports and roads) have compelled us to revisit.  Airships (of sufficiently large size) consume FAR less gas per mile-ton than airplanes, and the newer ones thst don't need ballast to land require far less ground crew or infrastructure.  Thus they're ideal for developing economies and more carbon-efficient overseas travel when the slower speed of cargo ships won't cut it... (they take about a week to cross the Atlantic and days at a minimum to unload- whereas a hybrid airship can cross the Atlantic in 28-48 hours- they travel at over 100 mph at cruising altitude- and would take only a few hours to unload...)

 

Regards,

Northstar

P.S. Note the difference between "hybrid" airships and lighter-than-air ones.  Hybrid designs are *slightly* HEAVIER than air, but rely on generating a limited amount of body-lift with their oval-shaped balloon bodies to keep them afloat (their liftoff speed is so low they only require about 1-2 times their own length as "runway", which can be an open field).  If they lose power they drift down to a gentle touchdown as their terminal velocity is very low and they can glide for quite a while...  Their fuel-efficiency is VASTLY superior to an airplane, however, despite much worse Lift:Drag because they require very little Lift to maintain altitude due to being near-buoyant, and are optimized for relatively low-speed, low-altitude flight of a few km and around 100 knots where propellers work extremely well...

P.P.S.  I guess TECHNICALLY *hybrid* airships have never been tried on a large scale before.  But they maintain all the advantages of their lighter-than-aur brethren while being much faster and more fuel-efficient.  They can similarly land on a dime or takeoff vertically, by vectoring their thrust downwards- and most modern airship designs would want to include some form of thrust-vectoring anyways to improve handling...

Edited by Northstar1989

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No. Maybe Hindenburg disaster scared people away from airships - but it was close to a century ago. If airships were so awesomely useful as you claim, someone would shrug and start building them for commercial use. Yet, none of attempts mentioned above managed to get any serious traction. Are you saying that big companies can be scared away from profit so easily, by an aerial disaster 8 in 10 people living today have little to no knowledge about?

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1 hour ago, Northstar1989 said:

Let's talk about THAT- instead of their economics or engineering- which are well-known and DO support their usefulness: they are cheaper than planes,

Some bad news for you:  Because airships are such power hogs, they have similar operating costs to planes.

Airships use as much fuel per cargo tonne-kilometre as a cargo jet, while keeping both the crew and airframe tied up for far longer.

19 minutes ago, Northstar1989 said:

Airships are well-proven, and used to fill a certain niche in civilian transport and warfare.  They were abandoned because of the Hindenberg disaster-

This is a myth, they were abandoned because they couldn't compete.  Fixed-wing aircraft were both faster and a far superior passenger to crew ratio.

19 minutes ago, Northstar1989 said:

P.S. Note the difference between "hybrid" airships and lighter-than-air ones.  Hybrid designs are *slightly* HEAVIER than air, but rely on generating a limited amount of body-lift with their oval-shaped balloon bodies to keep them afloat (their liftoff speed is so low they only require about 1-2 times their own length as "runway", which can be an open field).  If they lose power they drift down to a gentle touchdown as their terminal velocity is very low and they can glide for quite a while...  Their fuel-efficiency is VASTLY superior to an airplane,

Bzzzt:  Wrong.

Hybrid airships have _worse_ fuel efficiency than airplanes.  They are also worse than 'traditional' airships, this is why airship designers abandoned the idea in the _1920s_.

 

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You are free to disagree with each other, but please don't be rude about it while doing so. 

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1 hour ago, Chakat Firepaw said:

Some bad news for you:  Because airships are such power hogs, they have similar operating costs to planes.

Airships use as much fuel per cargo tonne-kilometre as a cargo jet, while keeping both the crew and airframe tied up for far longer.

This is a myth, they were abandoned because they couldn't compete.  Fixed-wing aircraft were both faster and a far superior passenger to crew ratio.

At the time around the Hindenberg disaster, it was multiple passenger planes under development who would cut the travel time over the Atlantic to less than an day.
airships could not compete with them, faster travel made them more attractive, planes was cheaper to operate and had faster turnover time. 
If you wanted comfort over speed or travel cheap you took the boats. 

Airship has the benefit of vtol on to unprepared ground, large cargo capacity and oversize cargo
This has given some commercial and military interest.
An more fancy idea is an land cruise ship, cool but pretty much require the heavy lift version to be developed first. 

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5 hours ago, Northstar1989 said:

Airships are well-proven, and used to fill a certain niche in civilian transport and warfare.  They were abandoned because of the Hindenberg disaster

If that's true - then where are they today?  If that's true - then why was there only one company building and operating passenger airships at the time of the Hindenburg's loss?

Seriously, the facts do not support your assertions.  Airships were abandoned because they're hideously inefficient and extraordinarily sensitive to wind and weather.  Their niche, at the time, was long distance passenger transport (which they weren't very good at) and they were rapidly being supplanted in that niche by heavier than air aircraft.  They've been all but gone in civilian service because there's essentially no demand for the two niches (extraordinary heavy lift, and marginal rough field capability) they have any hope of competing in.

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1 hour ago, magnemoe said:

Airship has the benefit of vtol on to unprepared ground, large cargo capacity and oversize cargo

Oversized yes, but they never actually deliver on the large cargo capacity, companies generally go bankrupt before they have anything with much more of a load capacity than a C-130/L-100.  The typical designs floated for "we'll be able to build this once we work out the bugs in the smaller ones, just give us money" tend to compete with cargo variant 747 and similar large cargo jets for scale.

There have been bigger ideas floated, but they're all of the type "we'll start designing these once we've got the 150 tonne designs working for a few years."

 

When it comes right down to it, cargo airships are trying for a very tight niche:  Too heavy for a helicopter or bush plane, either too big for something like a Herc or somewhere you can't make any kind of runway, somewhere you can't put in a road to an airstrip, not accessible to ships and where the weather doesn't preclude trying to float a big gasbag around.  So what's that?  Some of the Arctic for part of the year[1] and a few patches of mountains?

 

[1] And even then, how much would both need a cargo airship to be flown in and can't wait for winter and an ice road/runway?

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As opposed to cargo-carrying airships, why not luxury passenger-carrying cruise airships? I could see a market for luxury air cruises, which would open up new, inland destinations that are naturally inaccessible to seafaring cruise liners. I'd love a serene cruise over the Grand Canyon, over a rainforest, or maybe visit Ayers Rock in the Australian Outback by airship!

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13 hours ago, Northstar1989 said:

Saying let's not reinvent the wheel here and debate aomething that is already a known and accepted fact is not straying from real life.

... (sorry i have to snip the rest)

It's all true. But, just as methane hasn't been used in rocketry for a long, long time thanks to their middlist performance, airships in the transport industry is yet another case of "jack of all, king of nothing" - it's the average, middle, mean (pun may not be intended). Problem is, things in the middle too often has to compete with all of it. Say, an airplane, they don't need to compete with ships on tonnage. While ships doesn't have to compete with aircraft on speed. They both exists on the extreme ends, serving their role on completely different basis than the other. An airship, however, has to compete with both of them, while it clearly can't match them - they won't be as fast as airplanes and someone can just build a bigger boat. Back in the time when airplanes doesn't exist, airship was the extremes - but not today. A lot of the posts here by people who give it a thought also signal the same thing - it's the middlist.

--------

Hybrid airship ? Can I ask how hybrid they are ?

Figures :

density of air : ~ 1 kg/m^3

density of water : 1000 kg/m^3 (lets say approx of most solids as well, plastics, fabric and wood makes most goods)

It's a difference of three magnitudes, how far away are they from either side ?

Why do I ask ?

1. Those with densities close to air will be massive by default.

2. Those with densities close to solids will have to go quite fast.

Again - if you're going fast, just use planes, if you're going big, just have some ships.

--------

If there's any use of ships, maybe some landlocked countries with poor transport network and full dependence on outer world could use them. But hey, those countries aren't that suited for airships, aren't they ?

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Akron has wrecked in 1933 (body count 73), Hindenburg - in 1937 (body count 35).
Titanic = 1496.

I have a strong feeling that airships stay popular in mass imagination for the reason of human perception.
They are giant and bulky.

Expectations.

Spoiler

Rustic_Airship_by_MechaDaveO.jpg

TB2.jpgthunderbird-2-fsx2.jpgb26ed654ce9478490166adbcb2cc0e92.jpg

Reality

Spoiler

au30gond.jpg

 

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

I have a strong feeling that airships stay popular in mass imagination for the reason of human perception.
They are giant and bulky.

Expectations.

  Reveal hidden contents

Rustic_Airship_by_MechaDaveO.jpg

TB2.jpgthunderbird-2-fsx2.jpgb26ed654ce9478490166adbcb2cc0e92.jpg

Reality

  Reveal hidden contents

au30gond.jpg

 

People definitely can't take they're just big balloons, and you can't (and don't want to) be in one. You have to cling outside and thats it.

Edited by YNM

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Posted (edited)

They think feel, it's a flying submarine.

Edited by kerbiloid

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12 hours ago, YNM said:

People definitely can't take they're just big balloons, and you can't (and don't want to) be in one. You have to cling outside and thats it.

If it's a rigid airship like the Hindenburg, then you can be inside one, since the gas cells are compartmentalized within the structure.

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I have seen this thing land at the Lakehurst Joint Base. I took pictures of it, although the ones I've posted here are not mine. It's huge.

main_900.jpg?1420506032

 

landscape_1424367588-lemv.jpg

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2 hours ago, Supercheese said:

If it's a rigid airship like the Hindenburg, then you can be inside one, since the gas cells are compartmentalized within the structure.

Seriously ? I'd rather worry about breaking the whole thing or suffering from bends... you realize the bags expands and contracts right ? And the sheets aren't meant to hold your feet ? And the payload capacity won't change at all ?

Still - I think the problem is that they both are cumbersomely large (ie. not easy to just enlarge) and cumbersomely dragfull / slow (not easy just to install more engines to move faster). The Zeppelin NT does go to stratosphere - but would enlarging the whole thing be that easy ? Also it still have some "weather permit" for flights - eh, well...

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5 hours ago, LordFerret said:

I have seen this thing land at the Lakehurst Joint Base. I took pictures of it, although the ones I've posted here are not mine. It's huge.

If they put video projectors inside, they can show commercials on its walls. Anyway they are gray.

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