A huge rigid cargo airship is being built in a WWII era hanger in Montebello, California by Worldwide Aeros. Once development has been completely the craft should be able to haul up to 66 tons of cargo all over the world for the U.S. military.
It would be really incredible if they built one for passenger service. With a payload capacity of 66 tons I would think they could outfit a ship with accommodations something like the old Graf Zeppelin, but more modern and slightly larger. Would really be a hell of a way to travel, eh?
Dan Grossman, of Airships.net, participated in the project as a technical advisor and has posted a lot of cool photos on his site you should go check out! They used three large 80′ models, filled with actual hydrogen, for their testing. I can’t wait to check it out.
Recently someone suggested the model airship’s rear control surfaces would not work very well without any prop wash flowing over them. I had thought about that before, and have been wanting to design a system to gimbal the motors to provide some thrust vectoring and better control.
So I have begun working with ideas to move the two rear engines to help control the ship. The two forward engines will remain stationary and will only provide forward propulsion.
This is proving to be quite a challenge. I want to move both rear engines up/down and left/right, using only one actuator for up/down and one actuator for left/right, and keep the whole system extremely light weight. I’m not sure if I will be able to make it work using only two actuators, but that’s the plan for now. I’ll post some drawings once I come up with a workable idea, hopefully soon!
Sometimes I wonder what might have been had the U.S. shared it’s helium resources with the Zeppelin Company. The ship was originally designed to use helium as it’s lifting gas, but at the time helium was rare and the main source of it came from the United States, but the U.S. would not export any to Germany.
It’s such a shame that this disaster pretty much halted any future large rigid airship design. It must have been such an incredible way to travel, almost like a fine hotel, but with a much better view! Air travel has went downhill ever since the giant airships stopped flying.
Just wanted to make a quick post to say that I have not forgotten about the R/C model airship project! Due to a recent move, the Mac (where I run Sketchup) dying, and some other stuff going on it has just been delayed. But I will be getting back to it soon, I promise! 🙂
Oh, and Happy New Year! I hope 2012 is an incredible year for all of you.
Upon visiting the AirshipModeler.com forums tonight I noticed that someone had posted a link to a video of Jack Clemens’ flying model of the U.S.S. Macon airship! It’s just so incredible to see it actually fly. It boggles my mind how much work he must have put in to design and build it. This is not an easy thing, as I have learned while working on my own flying model airship project.
I finally got around to cutting out the parts to assemble one of the rudder/elevator control surfaces today. The whole thing is built from 1/32″ balsa sheet material and some super glue.
Each rudder/elevator control surface is 8″ x 2″ and 1/2″ thick at the base, with 7 ribs.
The finished piece weighs in at around ~2 grams, and it feels as light as a feather. It’s so light that I now have no doubt that the tiny magnetic actuator will have any trouble moving it at all.
This turned out to be quite a challenge. I’m going to need more practice to get up to the level of quality I want for the finished airship. Although fairly rigid and strong once assembled, the balsa material is pretty fragile while working with it.
It would be great if I could find someone or someplace that could laser cut the material from my drawings. Just out of curiosity I think I will look around and see if anyone does work like this on a very small scale for a reasonable price. If not, I will just suck it up and get better at cutting out and assembling the parts myself! We’ll see..