How Luxury Airships Are Bringing the Pleasures of Cruising to the Skies
, 2023-01-29 08:00:00,
Airships, which for centuries have reflected the inventive spirit of visionaries such as Leonardo da Vinci and Jules Verne, are currently experiencing a renaissance. Though they’ll never compete with jet aircraft for long-distance travel, airships offer low operating costs, reduced infrastructure requirements and significantly lower carbon output.
And the advantages are particularly pronounced in the field of regional travel, where growing pressure from governments and environmental groups is threatening to restrict the commercial air-travel sector. In an effort to anticipate future regulations, Spanish carrier Air Nostrum recently ordered 10 Airlander airships from Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) of Britain.
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The Airlander 10, which is expected to be certified and flown commercially in 2026, can carry approximately 130 people and cruise between 50 and 70 knots using noncombustible helium for buoyancy and four kerosene-powered reciprocating engines for propulsion—a system that will burn 90 percent less fuel than similarly sized aircraft. And it will also be configured for the luxury market, with a handful of suites to complement its ability to stay airborne for five days.
Then there’s Google cofounder Sergey Brin. His LTA (Lighter Than Air) Research outfit is headquartered both in Mountain View, Calif., and at the Goodyear Airdock hangar in Akron, Ohio, where its Pathfinder airships aim to advance the cause…
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