LS-LT18-V1 & V2 and LS-LT15-V1
These Luffships are low captured (tethered) lenticular aerostats, designed with a multiple line restraint system that allows them to rise under control from the ground to a maximum height of say 20 m for light-show display and projection purposes as braced static overhead aerial screens (providing an attraction at events). They thus may be seen from afar and viewed from the ground, but are recovered to ground level when not in use for safe keeping.
The aerostats have a 2 chamber arrangement comprising: 1) an outer torus tube (like a bicycle wheel inner tube) that is pressure stabilised as a stiff chassis member and 2) an inner main compartment bounded by upper and lower dishes affixed at tangential positions to the torus each side. The main chamber isn’t pressurised, where its lower dish freely flexes up or down to accommodate contained gas volume changes. As non-rigid fabric structures, the aerostats are partially helium inflated and then air is used to complete the inflation process and to pressurise the torus – enabling them to maintain form for displacement purposes and thus develop excess buoyancy countering their weight. Excess buoyancy also keeps them aloft and imparts sufficient tension into their multiple restraint lines, preventing them from slackening against aerodynamic wind loads.
Projection onto the aerostat’s lower surface (an essentially large flat disk area) is best undertaken with systems on the ground. However, the projectors also can be carried by the aerostat if desired, but needs additional expensive helium, complexity and safety aspects to be covered (increasing cost). Naturally, the aerostat thus may carry lighting and other systems (e.g. cameras) for further purposes.
We are cooperating with specialist suppliers for aerostats plus fabric facilities and ground systems production. We also are cooperating with specialists for the light-show projection arrangements – not part of the basic captured aerostat package.
The low captured aerostats also may be used as big parasols or rain shelters (i.e. a large floating roof) with a stage below. Fitted with a skirt (an extra facility) that the aerostat raises and supports, they then may be used like marquees for many other purposes. The aerostats will be provided with attachment points for such skirts, which also will be used to attach storm protection skirts when held at ground level (minimising gust effects) and/or advertising banners for daylight hours. We also plan to integrate solar panels on the aerostat’s upper surface for power aloft.
The designs stem from mooring arrangements for similar lenticular aerostats intended for dirigible Luffships and the need to develop them in an assured way through field tests before attempting free flight. The overhead captured aerostats thus were arranged as useful products for just ground use, perhaps later upgraded for dirigible flight purposes.
Types designed include: Mk 1 (LS-LT18-V1 & V2) and Mk 2 (LS-LT15-V1), as shown respectively below.
- Mk 1 is Ø18 m, where V1 was designed as a prototype. V2’s design incorporates lessons learned from V1.
- Mk 2 is smaller (Ø15 m) to minimise cost. For further information, see its leaflet.
The LS-LT18-V1 design, together with ground arrangements, was undertaken by our founder in 2009. As the Technical Authority for the operator (who managed prototype commercial aspects) he then led the programme for subsequent development, production, inflation, assembly, training, set up, tests, operation and certification, interacting with everyone involved to achieve the operator’s objectives.
He later undertook design changes for a series version (V2). The Mk 1 design thus is mature and known to work, so near ready for further test (to complete the certification programme) and series production, needing finance to continue. Please contact us if you would like to support its further development.
We plan to shortly acquire the prototype from the original operator, who has held it in proper storage (but without use since 2010), so that we may complete the development process, use it for demonstration purposes and then facilitate general supply to operators for the various purposes it suits as a product under lease or purchase arrangements.
We expect that new operators will prefer the smaller Mk 2 design, which will be cheaper to acquire and operate. It therefore is planned to be the first product for supply. It will be packaged as a complete system in a single container with ground infrastructure able to be transported in a van and sufficient for new operators to get underway. People interested to become an operator should register with us via contact.