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February 21, 2006

Even Cooler: Hybrid Zeppelin May Fly

Every geek loves sci-fi flavored pseudodirigibles, from Blade Runner to their occasional appearance in Batman comics:

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's … an Aeroscraft?

A Tarzana, Calif., company has been working on a new kind of aircraft that looks more like a flying cruise liner than anything inhabiting the skies today.

"It's not a blimp, it's not an airship, it's a totally new vehicle," said Edward Pevzner, business development manager for Worldwide Aeros Corp.

"Today we have three types of vehicles β€” air vehicles, which are airplanes, helicopters and airships [blimps]. So this Aeroscraft, as we're going to call it, is going to be the fourth type. And it is going to combine technologies of all three other vehicles."

Roughly the size of two football fields, the Aeroscraft can be used as a military transport for troops, artillery and equipment; as a cargo transport service in the spirit of Federal Express or UPS; as a commuter transport service; and as a luxury travel option.

Okay, here comes the bad news that will doom this fat bastard:

Because the vehicle is heavier than a normal aircraft, it moves much slower β€” a coast-to-coast trip would take about 18 hours.

But for the luxury traveler or businessman on the go who might be willing to pay the high price of a first-class airline ticket, it's not about getting there fast; it's about enjoying the trip, Pevzner said.

This just in: Pevzner is an idiot. No one is going to want to triple his travel time. Surely they won't pay a premium price for it, restaurant or no restaurant.

"The Aeroscraft is not going to take you to New York in six hours β€” it'll take you to New York in 18 hours β€” but you'll have your own room to sleep and rest in during the flight, you'll have a meal in a restaurant β€” it'll be a restaurant meal instead of airplane food," he said.

Sure, sure. Or, you can just take a normal plane, get to LA in six hours, have a meal in (get this) LA, on the ground, and then sleep at a hotel room.

Pevzner said that when configured as a cruise ship, the craft would able to hold about 250 people as well as offer a wealth of amenities.

Restaurants, nightclubs, spas, casinos and sleep cabins are among the facilities the craft could come outfitted with β€” just like a luxury ocean liner.

Wow! Casinos, spas, nightclubs, and beds! The thing is... they have those on the ground, too.

It may have some value as a military transport, though. Supposedly it can transport 500 tons of cargo 12,000 nautical miles in seven days. So, perhaps a few of these would be good for medium-sized fast deployments.

Except, of course... all of our troops would be stuck inside a lumbering, ginormously obese target.

Still, it's fun to play "let's pretend" sometimes.

Thanks to Allah again.

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posted by Ace at 04:38 PM

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