Tuesday, November 2, 2010

[Resources] Skylifter!

Australia is the land of big things, and not only things that will kill you dead (see this Badass of the Week). One of the latest big ideas is a piloted dirigible to transport up to 150 tons over 1200 miles. This gas-filled lighter-than-air vehicle, the Skylifter, is a new breed of aircraft.

The theoretical specifications are: 150 ton lift capability, range 1200 miles before refueling is necessary, speed 45 knots (83 kph). The balloon will be 500 feet in diameter and saucer-shaped, the better to navigate through heavy winds. Skylifter is slated to be built within the next three years (by 2014), at least according to their website.

And a September article in the Economist outlines some more info, including the Voith-Schneider propellers (similar to a paddle wheel) that allows motion as well as steering direction, and info on the company's several test versions: Betty, the remote controlled 3 meters diameter dirigible, can lift half a ton. Vikki is 18 meters diameter but is awaiting it's propulsion system before testing. Several other proto-types are in the planning, from Nikki, a 23 meter diameter unmanned model, to Lucy, a 150 meter manned model.

When I first saw this, I imaged two possible fights scenes on top of it: a 1890s Steampunk swordfight and a James Bond-esque final battle with the nefarious would-be world destroying enemy. Tell me that those images didn't pop in your mind when you saw the picture.


  1. Um- I read the title all wrong -got Skylitter; and thus, I see a big ugly mushroom. Thus, a Mario in space adventure.

  2. You know what I see when I look at that?

    No more container ships.

  3. Hey, the Mario in space idea is pretty good. I'll have to remember that.

    As for container ships, we'll always have Waterworld!


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