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Return of the Zeppelin? Amphibious airship to take to skies

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 11th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A pioneering aviation firm is pinning its hopes to a new kind of amphibious aircraft that is able to land and take off without an airstrip - benefiting those trapped in war zones and disaster areas. The Aeroscraft is a big, ungainly craft that calls forth memories of the zeppelin, which has been absent from the world's skies for over 75 years.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Using innovative technology, the Aeroscraft is far more able to control its flight better than previous airships. This puts it ahead of the zeppelins of the past, which were discontinued following the Hindenburg disaster of May 6, 1937. 

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The Aeroscraft is also far more fuel efficient, requiring only a third as much fuel as an airplane carrying cargo. Designed following a $3 million grant from the U.S. government, the Aeroscraft is set to begin its first test flight.

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Created by Worldwide Aeros Corp., its makers predict the craft will change the way that goods are moved internationally by providing a mode of transport far less expensive than planes, but faster than sea travel.

Finding a way to compress helium, which allows the Aeroscraft to control its weight, was the key technological hurdle that was accomplished by the firm's founder Igor Pasternak.

In the manner of a helicopter, the Aeroscraft can also take off and land vertically, enabling it to reach destinations which do not have an airport.

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While the Aeroscraft's 115 mile per hour average speed is far slower than a jet's 500 mile per hour-plus, the overall travel time could be lower as it can travel directly from where goods are produced to where they are needed.

Its makers hopes that this will make it useful to the military and aid charities operating in parts of the world with poorly developed infrastructure on the ground.

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While it resembles a Mylar balloon, and just as flimsy, the Aeroscraft has bulletproof skin. Even if its exterior is breached, it won't deflate in the manner of a birthday balloon.

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The firm claims that its first airships will be available to customers in mid-2015, when they will be rented out annually. A model of the zeppelin which carries 66 tons will cost more than $25 million per year, while a 250-ton version will be $55 million.

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