Could a blimp shrink into a plane?

  • #1
MUZE
6
2
I can imagine a frame within a blimp/hybrid airship so when the hydrogen inside the blimp is recaptured the skin retracts to form a wing. As the blimp travels faster it shrinks, the buoyancy giving way to the lift from its wing shape to a point in which it is no longer a blimp, but a plane.
What problems may arise from this conceptual aircraft?

Scale aside this would be the rough general shapes of it on take-off and during flight.
How would one
1588716620623.png

class this type of aircraft?
1588715932358.png
 

Attachments

  • Revision 8.docx
    574.5 KB · Views: 146
  • 1588715902558.png
    1588715902558.png
    30.8 KB · Views: 159
Last edited:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Klystron
Gold Member
1,047
1,572
The general term is hybrid airship. Since few, if any, became production models I would take the list of different hybrids in the article 'with several grains of salt'.

The term "hybrid airship" has also been used to describe an airship comprising a mix of rigid, semi-rigid, and non-rigid construction.
 
  • #3
DaveC426913
Gold Member
21,358
4,817
A few problems I see off the top of my noggin:
  1. Where would all the extra material be stored? It would take up premium payload space.
  2. How would you turn a material - that is flexible enough to be compacted into the nooks and crannies of a plane - into a skin tight and rigid enough to not create deleterious drag from flapping around in the winds?
  3. How much extra machinery would be required to expand and contract the structure? How much hydrogen tank volume? How many heavy pumps?
  4. How much structure would the plane itself require in its surfaces to perform double duty supporting alternately aerodynamic functionality and balloon support?
  5. How big does such a dirigible have to be to be buoyant? How big would a plane have to be to support everything needed for the hybrid? Or, look at it the other way: how small could you make such a plane? If you don't get sufficient reduction in size, then you may not have much reason left to have an airplane form - it would still need dirigible-sized landing and takeoff areas.
 
  • Like
  • Informative
Likes Lnewqban, Klystron and MUZE
  • #4
DaveC426913
Gold Member
21,358
4,817
It comes down to functionality:
What advantage is gained by having this hybrid? Specifically, what advantage - other than convenience/speed - would be had by having a plane form - to offset the inevitable trade-offs?

Tell us what problem you're trying to solve.
 
  • #5
MUZE
6
2
Maybe not as dramatic but enough to be efficient at faster speeds. Maybe a more tubular design for traveling higher and faster. It would just get thinner with less cross-section.
 
  • #6
DaveE
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,816
2,470
efficient at faster speeds. Maybe a more tubular design for traveling higher and faster.
I think you're describing a rocket.

Seriously. In addition to all of the other problems, you will have to solve the lift vs. buoyancy trade off at every moment during the transition. I expect there is an in between configuration where you have a heavier than air craft with a wing shape that doesn't produce enough lift. It's a difficult problem, especially in a commercial market place that places extreme value on efficiency.
 
  • #7
russ_watters
Mentor
22,053
9,148
What problems may arise from this conceptual aircraft?
Some people listed some problems, but can you say what benefits you would see to this idea vs current aircraft?
 

Suggested for: Could a blimp shrink into a plane?

  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
2K
Replies
2
Views
687
Replies
72
Views
9K
Replies
1
Views
227
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
1K
Replies
7
Views
673
Replies
7
Views
722
Replies
13
Views
1K
Replies
27
Views
1K
Top