Fashions – including in aviation – come and go…and come back again!
I am sure we all noticed the amazing pictures of the inflated airship at Cardington last week – reported to be the longest aircraft ever built at 92m. Airships are always an impressive sight in flight and I look forward to this one gracing our skies. From an air traffic management perspective, we are used to integrating them into our operations at low level and often low speed.
This particular innovation is, however a step up in the application. The body design itself, as well as the helium, appears to provide lift, with the publicity talking of enormous haulage capabilities and endurance – up to three weeks before refueling.
The exciting thing about aviation and the thing that keeps us all engaged, is that there is constant innovation, and it is not always about being the ‘fastest’ or ‘highest’ either. The possibilities of such a platform are endless, from on going surveillance and delivering humanitarian aid, through to photography and ultra heavy lifting.
It will be fascinating to see how this develops. The US Navy seemed to decide not to operate it due to the economics, but let’s hope that the time is right for it now.
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