Formerly just our founder’s design-services practice (LTA Solutions), which he started after doing the CL75 AirCrane project (following CargoLifter’s closure – 2002) and after taking over SkyLifter Ltd (May 2018), we now are an SME called LuffShips Ltd (see associated News Item) for development of fabric structures and lighter-than-air (LTA) aircraft (i.e. aerostats and airships) leading to heavy-lift types for aerial-crane duties. We thus still aim to serve the aircraft industry worldwide, but now are planning (instead of just helping) to introduce new 21st Century types.
‘LTA-aircraft’ is a general term for the aerospace industry sector involved, covering types mainly dependent on aerostatic lift (buoyancy) to remain airborne.
- Free balloons – aerostats with a lower payload or passenger unit
- Tethered or captured aerostats (Barrage Balloons, Joy Ride systems, Floating Screens and Elevators)
- Airships (Dirigible Balloons) – Rigid, Semi-rigid and Non-rigid (Blimps)
- Hybrids – airships with wings, blown surfaces and/or an aerostat specially shaped as a lifting-body for significant aerodynamic lift
- LuffShips (LS) – new aerostats and airships conceived to overcome past problems and to make possible things that need solutions. See: Projects for information.
Light re-locatable structures (such as marquees) and fabric covered or inflated buildings (such as hangars or halls) provide compatible key ground facilities necessary for LTA operations. They also will be alternative products helping to hone expertise (needed for airworthy aerostats).
Aerostats and Airships
For clarification of terminology, see our glossary of LTA terms.
From our founders collection, we have an extensive library of LTA-aircraft books and documents. We also gained from him a wide network of helpful experienced associates in the industry who we work with.
LuffShips are a new opportunity with great potential in the 21st century that may be used in numerous ways for benefit, including: tourism, commuter operations, heavy airlift (for transport, construction, lift & movement purposes), surveillance, advertising, scientific research, broadcasting, exploration, search and rescue, relay (telemetry), forestry, geological survey, agricultural survey, atmospheric study, patrol and many other purposes.
While airships generally are grossly underused today (see Background for some reasons) LuffShips address the issues to provide new better reliable ways, enabling things to be done that people only dream about at the moment.
Types for applications such as aerial cranes to lift and place loads of say up to 1000 tonne or geostationary long endurance platforms remaining for months on station (needed by the telecommunications industry) are possible. Aerial cruisers providing pleasure flights also are possible and would be a great pull for the tourist industry.
As numerous aircraft show, HTA types have mainly reached their limits, are noisy and consume huge quantities of fuel that pollutes our atmosphere, which can’t go on indefinitely. On the other hand, airships have not really been exploited very much, despite operating in nicer ways. The world needs their capability and those who work to realise it can benefit.
Balloons (basic LTA types) were the first aircraft to carry people and still do in great numbers – that’s real success to leverage! Let’s not overlook these roots when leaping to higher goals. Instead, let’s grow from them in sustainable ways.