Airship (Wallpaper 4) aircraft photo gallery | AirSkyBuster

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Airship (Wallpaper 4)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Airship Wallpaper 4
image dimensions : 1092 x 682
Airship (Wallpaper 4)
4. Photo wallpaper gallery of Airship. 4. Airship pictures and images collection.
A line of limousines and taxis snakes its way into the Royal Park to deliver 300 well-heeled passengers and their smart luggage to the discreet air terminal. They are in no rush because the flight they are about to board to New York will take two days. Moored on the grass outside the terminal is a 600ft long behemoth, a vast Hybrid Air Vehicle. A cross between a balloon and an aircraft wing, this new-wave blimp is filled with non-flammable helium and air. Slung beneath is a vast passenger cabin akin to a miniature first-class cruise ship with dining rooms, a ballroom, bars and a casino. For the same price as a club-class plane ticket, these 300 discerning travellers will eat, sip cocktails and dance as they float serenely across the Atlantic. There is no runway; there is no need. Once clearance is given for take-off, the captain disengages the hover cushions that suck the craft to the ground, directs the thrust of four 8,000hp engines down, and powers the ship up to 9,000ft. In 48 hours they will touch down in New York harbour, having burned just a fifth of the fuel used by an aeroplane. It’s a stress-free hop from central London to the centre of Manhattan, with no lengthy airport connections at either end, and no icebergs either. Airship travel has been a distant dream ever since a catastrophic fire in 1937 ripped through the LZ-129 Hindenburg as it neared its mooring mast in New Jersey, killing thirty-five people on board and one man on the ground. Reporter Herbert Morrison’s vivid eye-witness testimony would become the industry’s epitaph: ‘It’s a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. It’s smoke, and it’s in flames now; and the frame is crashing to the ground… Oh the humanity!’ Could an industry dogged by tragedy and belonging to a bygone era finally have found the technology to cruise back into the mainstream? The American Department of Defense thinks so. They have just handed a £315 million contract to design and build the world’s largest flying object to a small British company based in Bedfordshire. Having beaten aviation giants Lockheed Martin, Hybrid Air Vehicles have just four months to build the belly and bones of the craft – the payload module, the fuel tanks, the four engines, the propulsion ducts and bow thrusters (the prototype is pictured on the previous pages). If all goes to plan these parts will leave its secure manufacturing facility in May, be loaded on a vast Antonov cargo plane, and flown to Arizona where they will join up with the ‘envelope’ (ie, the balloon). Once assembly is complete, military technology giant Northrop Grumman will add the top-secret surveillance equipment and the vehicle will travel on its own power to a U.S. army base on the east coast of the United States. Once there the U.S. military will put the fully assembled 300ft long craft through its places, flying it with pilots and without. When it finally completes testing and trials in January 2012, it will leave the US and fly back across the Atlantic to the UK, the first time this has happened since the heyday of Zeppelins in the Thirties. Guided by a three-man crew, the giant ship will stay at a U.S. Army base here, ready to be deployed. It will be available for use in Afghanistan where it can be flown remotely, climbing to 20,000ft and circling for 21 days, an omniscient god perpetually surveying the battlefield and giving advance warnings of IED attacks and ambushes.


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