The Flying Luxury Hotel Tomorrow's cruise ship will sail through the air, not the water
Even though the Aeroscraft dwarfs the largest commercial airliners, it requires less net space on the ground than any aircraft because it doesn't require a runway. The airship takes off and lands like a helicopter.
This is not a Blimp but more like a cruise ship and it will ferry passengers across continents and oceans.
Unlike its dirigible ancestors, the Aeroscraft is not lighter than air. Its 14 million cubic feet of helium hoist only two thirds of the craft's weight. The rigid and surprisingly aerodynamic body-driven by huge rearward propellers-generates enough additional lift to keep the giant and its 400-ton payload aloft while cruising. During takeoff and landing, 6 turbofan jet engines propel the ship up or assist its descent.
This two-football-fields-long concept airship is the brainchild of Igor Pasternak, whose California firm, Worldwide Aeros Corporation, is in the process developing a prototype and expects to have one completed by 2010. Pasternak says several cruise ship companies have expressed interest in the project, and for good reason: The craft would have a range of several thousand miles and, with an estimated top speed of 280 km/h, could traverse the continental U.S. in about 18 hours. During the flight, passengers would look at national landmarks just 2,5 metres below or, if they weren't captivated by the view, the spacious interior would easily accommodate such services as luxury staterooms, restaurants, even a casino.
To minimize noise, the aft-mounted propellers will be electric, powered by a renewable source such as hydrogen fuel cells. A sophisticated buoyancy-management system will serve the same purpose as the trim function on an airplane, allowing for precise adjustments in flight dynamics to compensate for outside conditions and passenger movement. The automated system will draw outside air into compartments throughout the ship and compress it to manage onboard weight.
The company envisions a cargo-carrying version that could deliver a store's worth of merchandise from a centralized distribution centre straight to a Wal-Mart parking lot or, because the helium-filled craft will float, a year's worth of supplies to an offshore oil rig.
Purpose: Long-range travel for passengers who are more concerned with the journey than the destination
Dimensions (feet): 165 h x 244 w x 647 l
Max Speed: 174 mph
Range: 6,000 miles
Capacity: 250 passengers