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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