The age of the airship is upon us as the next generation of Rigid Variable Buoyancy Air Vehicles is about to become a reality. Last year we brought you California-based aircraft manufacturer Aeros' plans to build the Aeroscraft; now, the prototype is nearing completion. New images of the almost-finished airship reveal an exciting new frontier for low-carbon, fuel-efficient transportation. Aeroscraft can take off vertically and deliver goods directly to where they are needed without relying on costly infrastructure like roads, rails, runways and airports.
Aeros has been developing airships for the last 25 years in the hopes of building fuel-efficient transport. Aeroscraft is neither a blimp nor a hybrid airship — it’s a Rigid Variable Buoyancy Air Vehicle and it’s the only one of its kind. Unlike blimps or hybrids, the Aeroscraft has an internal ballast system and can control its loft while loading and unloading cargo. Built with a lightweight composite truss system and covered with an enhanced envelope fabric, the airship can take off and land vertically without the need for a runway. This means no airport, not landing facilities and no impact on the site when an airship lands.
The prototype is just weeks away from being completed and will be 79 meters (260 feet) long. Although the prototype won’t carry any payload, the full scale version of the craft will be able to transport up to 66 tons. Compared to air freight, the Aeroscraft will used 1/3 of the fuel, making it one of the most efficient and convenient transport methods out there. The craft can also hover with minimal use of energy allowing it to be used to monitor areas for days without needing to land. The military applications for cargo transport and surveillance are endless, but the company also hopes to become a leader in the transport of goods — soon you may see a FedEx logo on the side of one of these babies. Aeros expects to complete the prototype before the end of the year to demonstrate their technology and scalability. We’ll keep you posted.