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Nik of Sente Software going Up in the world
Lighter Than Air aircraft. Flying machines that float in air by buoyancy of helium gas or other light gases. Airships are sometimes known as "dirigibles", which actually means "steerable" but is often misquoted as meaning "inflated". The idea of them being Air SHIPS is because airships can be as big as ocean liners, and can cruise around at a relatively leisurely pace, giving passengers astonishing views in luxury accommodation.
Airships, as well as having a passenger experience, also have immense freight lifting capacity, and can lift huge objects off the ground vertically, like a helicopter, but with a much heavier payload.
Past images of futuristic scenes often feature airships as being the way of travel in the future.
Ideas of airships of grandiose proportions are part of a culture in which airship enthusiasts are known as "helium heads", planning aerial architecture for vehicles a mile long and being able to float around like the Island of Laputa and carry vast amounts of stuff.
As with many of these big ideas, the technology is catching up, and there are already practical machines on the go such as the SKYCAT (1007 feet long) (looks a bit like Thunderbird 2), and other vast projects. Zeppelin is back! You can actually book a ticket to fly on a Zeppelin airship (not to be confused with Germanwings), and be reassured that these ships are filled with helium, not hydrogen.
But surely Hydrogen is much lighter? Actually there isn't so much difference.
Here are a few uplifting references:
Nik Allday's BLIMP story
GeoSweep - ads using a blimp
SKYCAT - also see www.aerospace-technology.com/projects/skycat/
The Virgin Airship and Balloon Company - was www.virginballoons.co.uk (Clara.net) - also see Virgin Airlines
And for airships on a scale less large, see Otherland Toys for radio controlled flying blimps.
Plus, if you'd like to have the experience of flying in a lighter-than-air craft, Virgin Balloon Flights is a good start! Also see other Adventurous Gifts
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