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Thread: Worlds largest airship

  1. #1

    Default Worlds largest airship

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/04...n-at-the-helm/

    I sure hope they pull this off.

    It will change the face of regional air cargo and many other facets of transport.

    Imagine being able to cost effectively drop industrial or other equipment into remote areas without the environmental disruption of roads, runways etc.

    With the Geographical location of Northern Alberta in relation to Northern BC, NWT and the Yukon this become an amazing opportunity for airports like Villeneuve.

    Wonder what happened to the Airship program out of Calgary, haven't heard anything in forever.

    In my highly biased personal opinion

  2. #2

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    Didn't this idea sink with the shortage and high price of Helium??

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMorrocco View Post
    Didn't this idea sink with the shortage and high price of Helium??
    After I posted the latest article I went back and looked the the HVL Skyhook project out of Calgary...but the last article was about Boeing becoming involved and nothing since (2012).

    In all the stuff I went through looking for info nothing on helium being in short supply or issues on cost.

    In my highly biased personal opinion

  4. #4

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    http://www.decodedscience.com/helium...ar-later/42314

    http://www.popsci.com/article/scienc...shortage-worse

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/scie...rtage-10031229

    There's most assuredly a helium shortage & frankly I'd rather the helium we've got go to uses other than atmospheric flight.
    Giving less of a damn than everů Can't laugh at the ignorant if you ignore them!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    http://www.decodedscience.com/helium...ar-later/42314

    http://www.popsci.com/article/scienc...shortage-worse

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/scie...rtage-10031229

    There's most assuredly a helium shortage & frankly I'd rather the helium we've got go to uses other than atmospheric flight.
    Looking at the links supplied it doesn't seem quite that clear...

    http://www.decodedscience.com/helium...ar-later/42314

    As I read it, tends to show the problem was the US shutting down access to its reserve as the biggest factor.

    And this one
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/scie...rtage-10031229

    Eludes to the same problem with the tag on that the US Govt expected the private sector to get into helium production so they didn't have to.

    Agree with it's importance in other sectors, but also found interesting as to how much is coming from natural gas production (Amarillo being the largest related), might be something Alberta should be investigating and how Helium is one of the most common substances.

    Tend to get the impression the ability to produce isn't necessarily the problem, but not enough $$$ it in at this time to bother.

    My read of the articles anyway

    As to the Calgary effort...

    From the Airship Forum:
    The Boeing Skyhook project apparently progressed to design freeze, but there were insufficient backers to take the project to the prototype stage, and it was subsequently shelved.
    Seems not a case of lack of helium or cost, instead lack or investors or orders...shame.

    In my highly biased personal opinion

  6. #6

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    There is a significant Helium shortage at the moment, in large part because of the shift to shale gas which unlike traditional gas, does not include much helium (so, the helium is there, its just not being extracted anymore). Its interesting, because originally the Zeppelins were designed for Helium, but being unable to source the gas from the US, they shifted to Hydrogen. In some ways hydrogen is better for airships, it produces more lift and is cheaper. Problem is if it blows up, although in fairness, jet fuel is pretty explosive as well, and remote control could be used to keep a distance perhaps (not sure). I find it interesting that there were survivors on the Hinderburg, which suggests to me not as "bomb" like as we imagine hydrogen to be.

    About a decade ago I met a consortium who were exploring this idea in Edmonton to develop the technology to enable transportation of heavy equipment up to Fort McMurray. At the time, I thought, "That's cool, but I bet it won't happen". So far, I've been proven right, I think there are too many technical hurdels to overcome, but never say never I guess. I just think its a tough sell, because nothing will ever beat ships on the ocean for economy (incredibly cheap), and over land, the market is smaller given how many cities are on coastlines (Alberta obviously being an exception, but Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Chicago, etc., all are).
    Last edited by moahunter; 23-07-2014 at 01:36 PM.

  7. #7

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    Moa
    Zeppelins were designed for Helium, but being unable to source the gas from the US, they shifted to Hydrogen.
    The sole German Zepplin designed for Helium was the Hindenburg. Helium was withheld because it was felt the aircraft could be used as a weapon of war (bomber, harking back to WW1).

    The R100 and R101 used hydrogen due to cost from everything I have read and from the same sources (and as at the time the US was the largest supplier) the Akron and the Macon were to use helium.

    Interestingly the Akron and the Macon both were equipped to handle fighter aircraft (biplanes at the time), at first with their landing still installed by later removed so they could only take off and land on the airship using a cradle hook system.

    I've followed the technology for decades and it is workable and technologically possible, the problem being perception to a large extent, lack of speed in a world that seems hooked on fast and that they must be operated much more like a ship than an aircraft as they are very susceptible to weather.

    Their load carrying (internal and external) is exceptional as is their low (comparably) fuel usage and the ability to operate from completely unimproved sites leaving no environmental damage is fantastic.

    Might be now, might be later but their time will return simply based on efficiency.

    In my highly biased personal opinion

  8. #8
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    Huh. Very cool!
    LA today, Athens tomorrow. I miss E-town.

  9. #9

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    The Akron and the Macon both were designed and flown using helium only.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  10. #10

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    I wonder if they could add some other gas to hydrogen to reduce its risk or contain it in small enough bubbles/balloons so that if a few blew up a chain reaction wouldn't be possible. ...and couldn't they then use it to power fuel cells to drive the airship?

    ...or put hydrogen in tubes so that if one explodes, you get the ride of you life.

  11. #11

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    If they could, they would have.

    Methane can be used as a lifting gas and Alberta has plenty of the stuff. If you need to refuel, just hover over a herd of cows..

    List of suitable lifting gases & solids.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lighter_than_air
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    I wonder if they could add some other gas to hydrogen to reduce its risk or contain it in small enough bubbles/balloons so that if a few blew up a chain reaction wouldn't be possible. ...and couldn't they then use it to power fuel cells to drive the airship?

    ...or put hydrogen in tubes so that if one explodes, you get the ride of you life.
    As with most things there are two sides to this discussion when it comes to hydrogen as a lifting gas.

    But some background...

    The Hindenburg did not explode, it burned.

    Hydrogen, like gasoline-jet fuel or even gun power, will only burn unless contained to the point it can create explosive pressure.

    So in the case of lighter than air usage it will only burn as it is at low pressure and not contained in a method that will allow it to build the high pressures needed for an explosion.

    To its use as a lifting gas and related hazards...

    From the pre First World War inception to the Hindenburg disaster there were no major incidents relating to hydrogen in German use (getting set on fire by incidenary bullets during the first world war was not a hydrogen issue)

    The Zepplins flew millions of miles, both combat and commercially (mostly commercially), crossed huge oceans, flew a scheduled service across the Atlantic, carried thousands of passengers in opulent luxury right down to a cigar room and smoking lounge safely and reliably.

    The Hindenburg disaster, the cause of which is still debated, was one of the first very public and highly covered aviation accidents and created the perception it was unsafe and ready to explode.

    Evidence on hydrogen usage in lighter than air has shown the opposite.

    Yes helium is safer from a fire point of view and is now preferred. I also has the benefit of acting as an on board fire suppression system (as an inert gas if pumped into burning areas it will extinguish or at least limit the impact of fire).

    But compared to Hydrogen it has considerably less lift requiring a larger capacity envelope and all the engineering cost, complexity and problems that go with the increased size.

    So like most things Hydrogen and Helium each have their pros and cons as well as our attitudes being influenced by media perception and myth.

    Handled properly H2 will work just fine as a lifting gas. But helium has safety and perception advantages.

    In my highly biased personal opinion

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    If they could, they would have.

    Methane can be used as a lifting gas and Alberta has plenty of the stuff. If you need to refuel, just hover over a herd of cows..

    List of suitable lifting gases & solids.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lighter_than_air
    or hover over city hall.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    If they could, they would have.

    Methane can be used as a lifting gas and Alberta has plenty of the stuff. If you need to refuel, just hover over a herd of cows..

    List of suitable lifting gases & solids.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lighter_than_air
    or hover over city hall.
    As an ever increasing resource imagine the production possibilities parked over Ottawa! (LOL).

    More than the use as a lifting gas if harnessed properly every community would have a renewable source of natural energy as well as both Provincial and National reserves.

    Even export!

    In my highly biased personal opinion

  15. #15
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    I wonder if they could blend it. Helium/H2. You get the higher lift of the hydrogen and the helium acts as a bit of a fire supressant, making it safer. I don't believe those gases react with each other in any way. Maybe the mixture would just separate like water and oil, though that's still fine as the safer gas would be above the passenger compartment.

  16. #16

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    Interesting idea

    Never rad of it being proposed or tried.

    BTW for those interested the Zepplin legacy lives on today...

    Your car or truck may even have parts produced by their factories in them

    ZF, the evolution of the original Zepplin company is one of todays largest producers of parts for personal and industrial equipment...including:
    - Steering systems
    - Transmissions
    - Transfer cases
    - Power transfer systems
    and much more

    Used in vehicles from Ferraris to Ford Pick ups and all the brands and types in between.

    Back on topic...I still think the methane idea has some great possibilities (lol)

    In my highly biased personal opinion

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobleea View Post
    I wonder if they could blend it. Helium/H2. You get the higher lift of the hydrogen and the helium acts as a bit of a fire supressant, making it safer. I don't believe those gases react with each other in any way. Maybe the mixture would just separate like water and oil, though that's still fine as the safer gas would be above the passenger compartment.
    I think the problem is as much "perception" as "science". Even hydrogen fuel cell cars have to deal with people thinking of them as bombs (even though gasoline is highly explosive). If it has hydrogen in it, probably going to have a hard time getting investors. Which is where the whole business case falls down. Yes, a Zeppelin might be a great way to move some heavy equipment from Edmonton to an area where there are few roads or similar, but does it justify the billions of dollars needed to create it?

    The consortium I spoke to some years ago were proposing to have blimps lifting equipment towed by helicopters from memory, which brought all sorts of saftey issues to mind of blimps blowing into chopper blades. Maybe it works, but I wouldn't take a chance on it.

  18. #18

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    I'd once heard that because of blockades or something, the Hindenburg was ended up being coated with a dangerous material that ignited and mate the whole episode much worse. However some Google hits indicate that, apparently, hydrogen doesn't mix well with air.

    This is also interesting, and it's followed by loads of gaseous comments.

    Hydrogen Airship Disasters

    Excerpt:
    "Dozens of hydrogen airships exploded or burned in the years before before the Hindenburg disaster finally convinced the world that hydrogen is not an acceptable lifting-gas for airships carrying people.

    The following is a partial list of hydrogen-inflated airships that were destroyed by fire from accidental causes (the list does not include ships shot down in combat operations):..."


    http://www.airships.net/hydrogen-airship-accidents


    Lifting Power of Helium and Hydrogen and Rigid Airship Operations

    "The following chart illustrates the dramatic reduction in payload from the use of helium versus hydrogen. ..."
    "Operational considerations further decrease the useful payload of a helium-inflated airship. As an airship rises, its lifting gas expands; an airship that begins a flight with its gas cells fully inflated must therefore release gas as it climbs to keep the cells from bursting. Because hydrogen is easy to manufacture and inexpensive to buy, hydrogen airships often began flights fully inflated to maximize payload and released hydrogen as they climbed. But since helium has always been a rare and expensive gas, ..."

    http://www.airships.net/helium-hydrogen-airships
    Last edited by KC; 24-07-2014 at 08:39 PM.

  19. #19

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    Excerpt:
    "Dozens of hydrogen airships exploded or burned in the years before before the Hindenburg disaster finally convinced the world that hydrogen is not an acceptable lifting-gas for airships carrying people.

    The following is a partial list of hydrogen-inflated airships that were destroyed by fire from accidental causes (the list does not include ships shot down in combat operations):..."
    Just a note on the incidents...

    I just scanned them quickly but it sure looks like with over 1/2 the fire was a result of another incident. Like an airliner bursting into fire after an accident releases the fuel.

    That said lots of info there I hadn't seen before

    In my highly biased personal opinion

  20. #20

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    ^Among that article's comments, you'll see some thread posters taking the author to task on his statements.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    ^Among that article's comments, you'll see some thread posters taking the author to task on his statements.
    Yes I read those...

    That said there were a number there I hadn't seen in any of the history books so he had been doing some serious homework.

    Among the comments below the article were a couple on "hydrino", the hydrogen molecules with collapsed electrons. Increased lifting power and not flammable?

    When I get a chance I have to do some reading on that as it could be a serious game changer for LTAs.

    Thanks for the links, don't know where you find them but they are appreciated.

    In my highly biased personal opinion

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Hydrogen Airship Disasters

    Excerpt:
    "Dozens of hydrogen airships exploded or burned in the years before before the Hindenburg disaster finally convinced the world that hydrogen is not an acceptable lifting-gas for airships carrying people.

    The following is a partial list of hydrogen-inflated airships that were destroyed by fire from accidental causes (the list does not include ships shot down in combat operations):..."

    http://www.airships.net/hydrogen-airship-accidents
    After reading this last night I went back through the sites listings and only using the information provided by the website hydrogen isn't the villain painted.

    From the website with my notes added...

    Airship accidents listed as hydrogen caused:
    1) LZ-4 (August 5, 1908 )
    Not caused by hydrogen, torn from its moorings in wind ignited after breaking up
    2) LZ-6 (September 14, 1910)
    Caused by improper maintenance (washing with gasoline!), fabric aircraft would have same outcome.
    3) LZ-12/Z-III (June 17, 1912)
    Possible hydrogen caused...ignited during deflation, may have been other factors
    4) LZ-10 Schwaben (June 28, 1912)
    Appears to have been hydrogen caused
    5) Akron (July 2, 1912)
    Appears to have been hydrogen caused
    6) LZ-18/L-2 (October 17, 1913)
    Engine fire went unextingushed
    7) LZ-30/Z-XI (May 20, 1915)
    Damaged during ground handling, then broke up after loss of control
    8 )LZ-40/L-10 (September 3, 1915)
    Destroyed during thunderstorm, did it break up or was it hydrogen?
    9) SL-6 (November 10, 1915)
    Appears to have been hydrogen caused
    10) LZ-52/L-18 (November 17, 1915)
    Appears to have been hydrogen related during refilling, hydrogen or other factors?
    11) LZ-31/L-6 and LZ-36/L-9 (September 16, 1916)
    Appears to have been hydrogen related during refilling, hydrogen or other factors?
    12) LZ-53/L-17 and LZ-69/L-24 (December 28, 1916)
    Loss of control causing collision leading to fire and destruction
    13) SL-9 (March 30, 1917)
    Struck by lightning, appears to have been hydrogen but other factors evident.
    14) LZ-102/L-57 (October 7, 1917)
    Damaged due to weather during docking operations leading to fire
    15) LZ-87/LZ-117, LZ-94/L-46, LZ-97/L-51, and LZ-105/L-58 (January 5, 1918 )
    Destroyed by explosion causing fire, no cause of original explosion given
    16) LZ-104/L-59 (April 7, 1918 )
    Appears to have been hydrogen caused
    17) Wingfoot Air Express (July 21, 1919)
    Appears to have been hydrogen caused
    18 ) R-38/ZR-II (August 23, 1921)
    In flight structural failure leading to crash and fire
    19) Roma (February 21, 1922)
    Collision with high tension wires leading to accident and fire
    20) Dixmude (December 21, 1923)
    Appears to have been hydrogen caused
    21) R101 (October 5, 1930)
    Collision with ground leading to accident and fire
    22) LZ-129 Hindenburg (May 6, 1937)
    Cause remains subject of discussion through to today.
    Of (22) incidents:
    (6) Appear to be hydrogen caused
    (6) May have been hydrogen related, but other factors may have been cause of fire
    (10) Loss of control, Collision with ground or other causes ending in fire


    Out of (22) total with (6) it appears hydrogen as a lifting gas was most possibly the cause.


    Out of (22) total another (6) it may have been the cause but other causes were present and just as likely.


    Out of (22) the last (10) hydrogen was not the cause or the cause has never been clearly identified.


    Considering the accident statistics of all aircraft at the time, the number of in flight fires of all kinds the evidence leads me to the opinion Hydrogen lift airships were no worse than other aircraft of the time...it was very early in the age of flight.



    Most accidents taking place between 1908 and 1923.


    In my highly biased personal opinion
    Last edited by Thomas Hinderks; 25-07-2014 at 11:11 AM.

  23. #23

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    Another downside to hydrogen is it makes metals brittle (perhaps not an issue if you put in a plastic sleeve or similar, but it was a problem the Zeppelins).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_embrittlement

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Another downside to hydrogen is it makes metals brittle (perhaps not an issue if you put in a plastic sleeve or similar, but it was a problem the Zeppelins).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_embrittlement
    Good thing they were made out of duraluminum and aluminum as well as plated for the most part.

    In this day and age there are many alternate materials and coatings available.

    Most interesting is how the technology being proposed is based off non rigid (blimp, no internal structure) designs.

    In my highly biased personal opinion

  25. #25
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    How much Helium is produced from a typical natural gas well?

    Anyone know if the Government of Alberta has mandated its collection or not?

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Jackson View Post
    How much Helium is produced from a typical natural gas well?

    Anyone know if the Government of Alberta has mandated its collection or not?
    From what I have been reading since KC posted the above links and others I've stumbled on.

    1) No such thing as a typical gas well as each formation is somewhat different and produces different levels of different gases and not all produce helium.

    2) Can't find a record of any helium production/collection/sales from Alberta

    3) No record of Provincial Direction or mandate on helium beyond retail consumer legislation (balloons and stuff).

    Seems we were thinking along the same lines re: Alberta Natural Gas production.

    In my highly biased personal opinion

  27. #27

    Default Lockheed lands contract hybrid airship

    This has been talked about for a while as a way to move equipment up to Oil sands projects. Neat that Lockheed has been working on, another competitor in perhaps a "new" industry:

    Lockheed Martin has landed its first contract for the hybrid airship it created inside its top secret Skunk Works division. In a deal valued at $480 million, Straightline Aviation (SLA) has signed a letter of intent to purchase 12 of the heavier-than-air airships that measure nearly a football field long. First delivery is scheduled for 2018, with the final airship expected no later than 2021.

    The helium-filled airships will be able to carry 20 tons of cargo to remote places without roads. They will even be able to hover over open water. Lockheed has been pitching the airships as a cheaper, more environmentally friendly way to deliver supplies and equipment.

    "There is a real need for this," said SLA CEO Mike Kendrick. "It can cost up to $1 billion to put all the infrastructure in for an oil well." He said falling commodity prices have not hurt interest in the airships — quite the opposite, given the cost savings — and U.K.-based SLA has four or five customers ready to try out the airships whenever they're finally ready.
    http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/29/
    Last edited by moahunter; 30-03-2016 at 12:59 PM.

  28. #28

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    They could use this as a promotional video

    OMG, we're crashing, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE! Oh,... no? What? It's going to feel like landing on a pillow? But, but, but, I'm afraid of flying. I want to panic.



    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016...o-telegraph-p/

  29. #29

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    Crashed into a telegraph pole???

    Are they still using telegraphs to send messages in the UK?
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  30. #30

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    And it was 'horrible'. Too bad that airships can't escape the gravity of their past.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-37181004


    ELEGANT CRASH
    The world’s largest aircraft just crashed in a painfully slow nosedive
    Selina Cheng 6 hours ago

    http://qz.com/765974/the-worlds-larg...slow-nosedive/
    Last edited by KC; 24-08-2016 at 10:52 PM.

  31. #31
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    oh...they've escaped that...

    There is a lot of industry anticipation around this A/C...
    President and CEO - Airshow.

  32. #32

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    ^there was anticipation. Not sure about now (nothing new is being built). It is very cool though, and might be awesome for Edmonton if even more equipment could be built in Nisku and just taken up North in one piece.

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