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Return of the blimp?

  1. Feb 20, 2008 #1


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    Large Payload: the SkyCat-20 has the flexibility and penetration of a helicopter but with a considerably greater payload capacity, while the SkyCat-220 significantly out-scales and out-performs all existing air freight transport alternatives.

    Are these blimps going to be common in the sky?
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2008
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  3. Feb 20, 2008 #2
    no way. blimps will never be common in my opinion. to cumbersome and ugly... large payload but expensive and people are still not as trusting after their not so good track record...
    well thats my opinion...
    and in the scheme of life whats that really matter
  4. Feb 20, 2008 #3


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    I remember seeing the Skycat a while ago. I have to agree that the dirigible track record is dismal. Germany came the closest to getting their fleet to the acceptable level, but we all know what happened there. The US has had an even worse time.

    Their suceptibility to weather and other factors that have to be dealt with on a daily basis makes them impossible to use except in those areas where the weather is pretty much the same all year round. Perhaps they could be used for relief efforts in areas like Africa and other desert areas.
  5. Feb 20, 2008 #4


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    Interesting... about 8 or 10 years ago, our company was contacted to supply helium by a similar venture known as "Cargolifter". The company was based in Germany, and had even gone as far as building an enormous hanger for the new airship.

    The company was looking at a niche market - to transport oversized equipment that wouldn't otherwise be possible to move over the road, or on rail, similar to the SkyCat. At the time, it seemed like the market they were after might potentially be economical. If the blimps could tap into transporting very large equipment economically, they might find a niche market.

    I guess they had many issues around this system and perhaps they eventually found it just wouldn't be economical. I suspect that's all it was. I know one of the issues was around the helium. Over a fairly short period of time, helium would diffuse out of the blimp and air would diffuse in, contaminating the helium. So every few months, the helium in the blimp would need to be 'cleaned' of air. Doing this was no small feat. They considered how to store that much gas, and came up with an idea of storing it inside an underground, concrete tube at about 1000 psig. But the size of this cavern was enormous and compressing and cleaning this very expensive gas was a serious concern. Helium today runs about $15 per 100 SCF. That’s about $500,000 for the helium alone, so you can’t just toss the gas out and put fresh in.

    Perhaps the SkyCat has learned from the Cargolifter. I have to believe there are people in the SkyCat organization that came from Cargolifter. That’s typical of industry. Knowing that, there may be some hope for SkyCat, but it really depends on the ability of the company to find this niche market where they can maintain an economic advantage.
  6. May 22, 2008 #5
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    I work for a mining company and I'm scanning the market for alternatives for transporting cargo (20t containers) accross very difficult topography in remote locations. Blimps with cargo lifting capacity sound very interesting to me, and I'm really willing to go a step further into a scope / prefeas. study!! Believe millions USD required may still be a challenger for actual solutions.

    Q_Goest, I'm interested in your experience. Could you contact me for further discussions?
  7. May 22, 2008 #6
    Aren't knowledgeable people warning that the world's helium supply is about to run out in the next couple of decades?
  8. May 23, 2008 #7


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    If you are shipping cargo to remote areas there's no reason not to use hydrogen.
    Yes the Hindenburg was a bit of a downer but we didn't abandon aluminium aircrraft powered by jet-A after the first accident.

    I don't think the German company failure was a technical problen I think it was some financial irregulaties and a ruling that a lot of state aid they had received was illegal that sank them.
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