In September 2013, Aeroscraft issued a press release that it had received an Airworthiness Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin testing its new aircraft. The certificate permits the aircraft to be operated in a designated controlled airspace for R&D efforts and allows the company to conduct flights. The craft is named the Dragon Dream and is a scaled down version 1:2 scale of future models. Future models will able to carry 66 tons and 250 tons of cargo. These vehicles will take off like a helicopter. Cruising speed is 100 knots and the vehicle can travel 3,100 nautical miles without refueling. These vehicles will use 1/3 the fuel of similar fixed wing aircraft.
Here are some practical applications for these new vehicles. Cargo transports is one area where these vehicles could be used to transport large amounts of goods and supplies. Consider them as a cargo ship in the sky. Oversized loads and bulky freight could be moved to remote areas. Transporting heavy machinery to oil fields or supplying remote villages in Alaska. Who knows in 10 years, we may be watching Polar Airships instead of Ice Road Truckers.
Military transportation the military needs the capability to move large amounts of equipment and personnel in a timely matter. The military is extremely interested in this type of vehicle for two reasons lift capacity and cost savings. In addition these vehicles can be used as floating supply ships that could bring in supplies and equipment.
Airship hospitals, each vehicle could outfitted with x-ray machines, operating rooms and carry medical supplies to the poor in remote areas where infrastructure is lacking. In 3rd world countries, 70 % of vaccines are scrapped due to not being able to keep the right ambient temperature for the drugs. Think of these airships as the next generation of floating CARE boats only they will fly in the sky.
Humanitarian Relief , these vehicles are perfect for delivering large amounts of food, clothing and supplies to areas that have been hit been by a natural disaster. In a natural disaster, the infrastructure is destroyed: roads, bridges and electricity. Portable power generators could transported to the site along with portable drinking water stations.
Sky Vacation Cruise ship instead of taking an ocean cruise. How about a sky cruise to one of your favorite spots. A ten day trip up the US West Coast.
There are many areas where this technology can be applied. It will be interesting to see how the company fares in the testing of the Dragon Dream.
On October 7th, 2013, the company had an accident at Airship Hangar 1, when a 25’ x 25’ foot hole in the hangar’s roof collapsed. The Dragon Dream had damage to the tail section of the craft. However, the company states that it is still on target to roll out more models in 2016.
This raises the question on where to build and house these types of vehicles. Maybe, Aeroscraft would be interested in acquiring the Goodyear Airdock building which is now occupied by Lockheed Martin . Goodyear made both the Akron and Macon (airships) in the 1930’s in that building.
The company was included in Popular Science Magazines Annual Best of What’s New in Aerospace category.
Logistics Trends will keep you posted on any breaking or new developments on this new and exciting airship.