Re: Airships Return

Arjen Kamphuis (
Wed, 17 Sep 1997 14:22:08 +0200

Rick Knight wrote:
> The shopping mall image kind of deflated it for me (I'd prefer a nice
> park <G>) but hey to each their own. I'm looking to curb my
> materialstic dogma now and in the coming years.

Sorry you hate mall's (they're a relativly new phenomenon over here so I
guess we're still slightly awed ;-). I was merely indicating the
comfort-level as compared to a Boeing 747.

> I'd really like to ship more stuff under and overground. I
> particuarly like the Drexlerian nano-engineered tunnels described in
> "Engines of Creation". Maybe I'm just really sick of my commute!

I believe there are now plans underway to create an nation-wide subway
system under Switserland (just 'ol fashion drilling, no nano involded).
Once completed passenger and cargo 'trains' could move trough these tunnels
at 400 Km/hr or more. This kind of solution to traffic problems is of
course *very* expensive and could never be afforded by most other country's
(even western ones).

By the time nanotechnology becomes practical I think the best solution will
be to produce anything as locally as possible, thereby greatly reducing the
need for transport in the first place. Hopefully we wil also have a more
'knowledge oriented' economy (we're moving into that right now) so that
there'll be a lot more 'working where you want' and less obligatory commuting.

The strong points of airships are (IMHO):
- No new technologies required, can be implemented *today*
- Require little or no ground infrastructure, ideal for developing
country's and 'neck-of-the-woods-operations'.
- Can handle any size/wheight cargo, as opposed to underground
tunnelsystems. A complete factory or offshore rigg would pose no
problem for a large airship.

> A question I have about the lumbering airships. Could they capably
> share the airspace with the prop and turbine powered craft already up
> there?

This should not be a problem since airships can fly at much lower altitudes
(a typical jet cruises at 30.000 ft). Because of their low-noise propulsion
this should not bother anyone. They could even be made partially
transparant so as not to cause shades in anybody's garden on sunny days ;-)
Also, with a touristic application you might not want to fly in a straight
line but instead follow a coast-line or something like that, quite
different from planes. Besides all that the idea is that they replace at
least some airplanes (lower operating cost, less noise, less pollution...)


Arjen Kamphuis | Learn as if you will live forever. | Live as though you will die tomorrow.