Aeroscraft Air Ship - I find this a fascinating idea, a cruise ship for the skies. NY Nerds posted this picture with commentary. I thought it was a joke...and it may be...but it's still an interesting idea. A fighter jet it ain't, but the available space per passenger would beat the hell out of the airline's current cattle-car offerings. Also, could it be a fuel saver--relying on the helium (or hydrogen?) as lift?

Nice summary from Howstuffworks "How the Aeroscraft Will Work":

The Aeroscraft combines elements of a lighter-than-air craft with those of an airplane. It holds 14 million cubic feet of helium, which negates about 60 percent of the craft's weight [ref]. When the Aeroscraft is at cruising speed, its aerodynamic shape, as well as canards (forward fins) and empennages (aft, or rear fins), provide the remaining lift. That's pretty impressive when you consider the Aeroscraft's size: 165 feet high, 244 feet wide and 647 feet long. That's about as long as two football fields. It will carry up to 400 tons of cargo over a range of 6,000 miles. With a top speed of 174 mph, it will be able to cross the U.S. in about 18 hours.

Aeroscraft Statistics

  • Dimensions (feet): 165 high x 244 wide x 647 long (in meters, 50 x 74 x 197)
  • Range: 6,000 miles (9,656 km)
  • Cruising Speed: 174 mph (78 m/s)
  • Altitude Range: 0 to 8,000 ft (0 to 2438 m)
  • Payload: Up to 250 passengers or 400 tons (362,874 kg) of cargo

Passenger numbers seem low.

The Aeroscraft won't require much of a ground crew or airstrip. A special system located under the aircraft's belly creates a vacuum to anchor it upon landing. Reversing the vacuum helps set the Aeroscraft aloft.

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