All About Airships

Airship Costs for Intercontinental Shipping

Airship Costs for Intercontinental Shipping

Airships are well-named from an economic perspective. The economics of a cargo airship are more similar to an ocean-going ship, than to any other mode of transport. Of course, they serve the opposite ends of the cargo spectrum. Ships specialize in relatively low value, bulk cargoes, while airships would serve higher-value, packaged goods, but the […]

Airships in Intercontinental Shipping: The Demand Side

Airships in Intercontinental Shipping: The Demand Side

More than any other market, intercontinental shipping is where airships can foreseeably achieve vast success. This is where engineering and economics meet and give birth to wonders. Airships’ inherent technological advantages, low fuel consumption and huge payloads enable them to capture hundreds of billions, even trillions of ton-miles’ worth of freight business from cargo jets […]

Airships in the Wild

Airships in the Wild

It’s an old cliché that new transportation and communication technologies “make the world smaller.” Giant airships are poised to make it happen again. They will reduce the economic distance to faraway places, so there will be more travel and especially more trade, in a new wave of globalization. One aspect of this, the topic of […]

The Roadless Revolution: Airships, Trucks and the Last Mile

The Roadless Revolution: Airships, Trucks and the Last Mile

A claim sometimes made by aspiring airship builders is that airships can offer a “point to point” transport solution. Airplanes, trains, and ships haul cargo long distances, then require motor vehicles to complete the “last mile” of the journey. This airship claim has some merit, but “point to point” cargo operations are likely to be […]

A Whole Different Kind of Flying

A Whole Different Kind of Flying

It was deep in swampy Siberia one night in 1929 when, far overhead in the cold sky, some people were having a little too much fun. They turned on the phonograph, danced, and got rather drunk. Captain Lehmann of the Graf Zeppelin intervened, reminding the passengers that they were on an expedition, not in a […]

Giant Airships as the Sixth Mode of Transport

Giant Airships as the Sixth Mode of Transport

The world economy relies on five major modes of transportation: airplanes, ships/barges, trains, trucks and pipelines (fluids only). Each mode utilizes, and is defined by, different technological principles. For trains, the low friction running surface created by steel wheels over steel tracks, allows them to pull huge loads with relatively little energy. For airplanes, aerodynamic […]

History: the Zeppelin Age

History: the Zeppelin Age

New technologies tend to make great demands on the imagination because everything about them is novel and unprecedented. Even if you grasp the essence of the new technology, the implementation snafus, varied applications, impact and hype, cannot be imagined. The unusual thing about airships is that they are not new, and so we can learn […]

Rigid Airships and Blimps: Two structural approaches to cargo transport

Rigid Airships and Blimps: Two structural approaches to cargo transport

The Goodyear blimp is a household name and the most visible instance of applied airship technology today. In some respects, it is the best advertisement for the potential of airship technology to revolutionize future transportation, too. After operating GZ-20 blimps safely for 48 years (1969-2017), Goodyear retired the last of these well-known blimps and replaced […]

Airships – Challenges to Overcome

Airships – Challenges to Overcome

It is abundantly clear that airships have great potential, despite being slower than airplanes. Airships are relatively fast, capable of crossing oceans and able to hover. They are fuel efficient, with huge cargo bays, and require less infrastructure than competing modes of transport. Despite these clear benefits, implementation has been difficult. Four challenges confront the […]

The Technological Principles of Airships – Part 2

The Technological Principles of Airships – Part 2

After aerostatic flight, the next most important technological principle to understand about airships is drag. The drag equation explains why airships fly slower than planes, but more efficiently, and also why airships fly faster than ships sail. It also explains why airships have streamlined, aerodynamic shapes and why commercial airliners fly very high, while airships […]

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