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Airships of the Future

Lighter-than-air (LTA) craft, or airships, have been around for many decades, but their ability to successfully transport substantial amounts of cargo over long distances has been severely limited by several design constraints.  These constraints include structural weaknesses, limited altitude (which limits the range), issues with control of buoyancy and trim, and issues with safe and ease of operation.

ARL is addressing all of these issues with new airship design features which include:
  • lenticular shape rather than 'cigar' shape, providing much lower aspect ratio and hence greater structural stability;
  • many gas cells arranged inside the outer envelope, both for safety against loss-of-gas incidents and for thermal insulation of the lift gas increasing temperature and buoyancy control;
  • much lower fill factor(≈50%), for increased altitude leading to increased range;
  • heat exchangers to provide independent control of temperature on each individual gas bag as a way to change the buoyancy dynamically leading to more stability of the airship in flight;
  • vectored engines as a means to dynamically change trim angle;
  • a new design for a docking mechanism on the bottom center of the fuselage rather than on the nose, for ease of docking and greater stability.
This baseline design has been patented.  You can review our patent in the PDF file attached below.  Please contact us should you have any questions related to this visionary patent design for the 21st Century.

ARL continues to produce variants of the baseline design and can custom-design buoyancy calculators and buoyancy-control systems, which, we believe, provide the key to the future of heavy-lift airships.

                                                         Shenandoah II Patent

1.1 MB

Coming soon:  More details on the baseline design in a paper written by ARL

Drawings of the Shenandoah II

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