A new breed of hybrid airships are preparing to take off raising hopes that a 21st century fleet can finally succeed the zeppelins of yesteryear.
The difference is radical says Michael Stewart, chief executive of World SkyCat Ltd, a British company which has designed a new air vehicle, the SkyLiner.
“The breakthrough is to combine the airplane with the airship, creating a hybrid.”
“An airship of our kind, carrying let’s say 200 tons or more, with its air-cushioned landing system is able to land without any runways — on tundra and semi-rough ground.”
“Unlike conventional airships, where a few million dollars will get you into the air, hybrids cost hundreds of millions to build.”
Undaunted, he points to recent orders secured by rival company, UK-based Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd who last year won a contract to build a similar hybrid airship for the U.S. military contractor Northrop Grumman.
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