• Feb 26th 2013 at 12:45AM
  • 34
Just as electric cars had their beginning long before making a comeback, airships have had a similar history. The big advantage to airships is that they can carry heavy payloads for a long period of time without consuming fuel for lift. The simple physics of an airship or blimp offer a great advantage over airplanes, in certain situations. The Aeroscraft is plans to capitalize on its ability to carry heavy loads for a long period of time. Using technology from the cancelled DARPA WALRUS HULA airship, Aeroscraft could mark the comeback for airships, but in a different way.

The Aeroscraft is not a blimp like you've seen wearing the Goodyear badge. The problem with airships in the past has been their inability to control buoyancy. When offing a cargo load, they become unstable and begin to take off. The fix for that is to re-ballast by using heavy equipment.

Aeroscraft Ballast

The Aeroscraft is different. As a 20-ton lifting airship, the Aeroscraft has the ability to drop off a load while re-ballasting with internal ballasts. The important thing to note is that while most of the lift comes from helium gas, the internal ballast system can add air from the outside to make the Aeroscraft heavier. The helium gas gets pressurized and stored in tanks while the new outside air fills the innards of the rigid vehicle.

The constant shuffle between using helium and outside air is what makes the Aeroscraft special. Also, for perfectly vertical take-offs and landings, the Aeroscraft has downward-facing turbofan jets. Normal propulsion is similar to other airships by having propellers move the vehicle forward.

Aeroscraft Takeoff

There are many uses for an airship like the Aeroscraft. For one, the U.S. military certainly has their eyes on it. The Aeroscraft could be used to transport large military vehicles into difficult to land areas (likely in non-combat areas). The Aeroscraft could also provide distinct advantages in large deliveries for civilian applications as well, such as transporting unwieldy construction materials like wind turbine blades.

Another idea floating around (no pun intended) is to have the Aeroscraft serve as a flying hotel. Imagine the amazing, ever-changing views the hotel restaurant would boast!


As more research is carried out, larger, more capable airships will be able to rethink what started over a hundred years ago. For now, the Aeroscraft can only lift 20 tons, but both a 60-ton and a 500-ton vehicle have been announced.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Two aerial observers of the future conversation might go like this... "Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird... It's a plane... No, it's an Aeroscraft!" "It's a..WHAT??"
      • 2 Years Ago
      These won't work. Airships are too large and fragile for any kind of usefulness. Furthermore, they cruise at half the speed of a hot fart. Weather destroys them and since they can't outrun it a lot of them get tore up. The Goodyear blimps spend most of their time dodging weather. Lets stick to big jets and trucks people.
      • 2 Years Ago
      great for democrats already full of hot air might just help them lie better
        • 2 Years Ago
        How collaborative. we use Democrats for bouyancy and Republicians as dead weight.
          • 2 Years Ago
          Do YOU blow the Dems UP............
      ray allen
      • 2 Years Ago
      On a more serious note, I could see this replacing the Canadian Ice Road Truckers as the climate changes, and the lakes just don't freeze to create the Ice Road.
      Dennis Aniello
      • 2 Years Ago
      Anybody thinking, UFO, as some have described what they have seen over some western cities? Makes you wonder!!!!
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wouldn't it be nice if like and Aircraft carrier, we had a spacecraft carrier, one that rose 80,000 feet about ground, and it could stay air bounds for 8 months to a year. It could house 20,000 troops...
        • 2 Years Ago
        Already done... in The Avengers movie. Shhh... it's a secret base, so don't tell anyone.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Kyle must have found his Daddy's foot locker full of 60's Popular Mechanics Magazines. Son, did you bother to read the date of the magazines before you started reporting these Airships as New News? I think I still have my coly of PM that has this same story in it. And I haven't subscribed to PM in 50 years!
      • 2 Years Ago
      "The Aeroscraft is plans to capitalize on its ability to carry heavy loads for a long period of time." The Aeroscraft is plans ...?? Who wrote this piece? What proof reader, what editor let this get by them? More amateurish "journalism" brought to you by the Fluffpost Flakes.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'd settle for a little more ok a lot more leg room and maybe having the flying petri dish cleaned once in a while.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Haven’t you heard the latest on additional legroom? They are vertical seats and are seriously being considered. Yep, keep packing them in! I wonder what will be next? Sure do miss the good old days of flying back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s when it use to be fun…………….
      • 2 Years Ago
      Drawing shows hydrogen and article says helium. Come on folks, edit your work.
        • 2 Years Ago
        For once, it's not a HP error. The "hydrogen" you see is in the drawing describing "airships and hybrid airship.". The Aeroscraft is the NEXT illustration.
      SCOTT !!!!!!!!
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think this is a great idea for not only heavy lift of materials and transport of products to cities cheaply. But a interesting idea for a creative team to use them for vacation opertunities.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just because they plan to use hydrogen doesn't mean a repeat of the Hindenburg. We have so many technologies now that Hindenburg couldn't take advantage of.
        • 2 Years Ago
        The story says they would use helium, an inert and non-flammable gas, not hydrogen.
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