Unidirectional (UD) aerostats and airships are buoyant aircraft fashioned in traditional ways still adopted today by new businesses. While they have proved useful ability for several duties, worldwide there are only a dozen or so manned airships up to commuter category today in certified service – hardly a success story. What’s wrong? Tethered aerostats do much better, but UD types are expensive due to complex ground arrangements for ground handling needed.
It appears that some developers overlook their foibles/costs and, in this 21st Century, are trying to use them in ways they do not suit (the wrong horse for the course). This results in poor efficiency and high costs to develop/operate them, only affordable (like cruising yachts) by a few people.
LSL’s solution for affordable buoyant aircraft generally lies in a switch to omni-directional (O-D) types. Even so, history shows that, for some applications (e.g., airliners and transporters) on regular routes or applications needing long endurance/range, there is a need for UD airships if the methods to manage them (mitigating their foibles) and infrastructure are developed at the same time.
Following our strategy for growth in sensible stages, Luffships has designs for new types that: do manage their foibles, introduce affordable ways to handle/operate/maintain them, and use measures that suit the purposes designed to serve.
The designs were formulated after Westinghouse Airship Industries (WAI) closed and then improved by LTA Solutions after CargoLifter closed, but then put on hold from collapse of the industry.
Today though, with changes to world economic circumstances and the need for Net Zero aircraft solutions, LSL considers it is the right time to pursue their development again – naturally incorporating lessons learned since the designs were formulated.
This includes semi-buoyant types that we have in mind, which treat the aerostat as an aerodyne (because they also naturally are dynamic lifting bodies) and use of vertical thrust when needed.
For more information about our UD buoyant aircraft proposals see Other Types.
We are interested to talk with people/businesses who would like to collaborate in their production or be operators. Please contact us to discuss the possibilities.