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World's largest aircraft leaves hangar for first time ahead of maiden flight

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Four years after the US Army deemed it too expensive, the hybrid airship – a carbon-composite cross between a zeppelin, a helicopter and an aeroplane - was gently piloted into the open in a delicate five-minute operation.....a case of a great design and novel airship, looking for a purpose. (www.telegraph.co.uk) Más...

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fritzacooper
Fritz Cooper 3
The U.S.Army may not be the appropriate branch of service to which this airship might be presented.The U.S. Navy had LTA serving on radar picket duty for many years. In elementary school I presented a project on the ZPG-3W which performed the radar picket duty. IMHO LTA can provide a great alternative to seaborne transportation in addition to non-combat military roles such as surveillance and logistics.
w2bsa
w2bsa 2
I have to agree with Fritz. I believe that the US Navy or the US Air Force would be better choices to use this aircraft. I see radar picket duty for the Navy and possible AWACS duty for the Air Force. The Telegraph also shows passenger use. But, there are possible cargo uses as well. The Telegraph also says the cost is £17.5 million which at current exchange rates would be maybe $18 million US.
canuck44
canuck44 1
Both you and Fritz should actually have considered Border Patrol and Coast Guard...slow speed but high endurance would make it ideal for drug and people interdiction if the political will to do that becomes available.
lynx318
lynx318 1
I doubt it would be fast enough for drug interdiction use, maybe refugee boat interdiction though.
w2bsa
w2bsa 1
Good point! I didn't consider that. The Coast Guard could probably use it for rescue work, however it couldn't be used in storms because f it's slow speed. I do see it for drug interdiction roles.
lynx318
lynx318 1
Gee that thing has an ugly butt!
canuck44
canuck44 1
I have had dates worse.
SunkenLunkenCFI
Robin Shaw 1
What happened to Lockheed's "Whale"?
KineticRider
Randy Marco 0
It is criminal that this ship was built because the world is running out of helium and once helium escapes it also escapes our atmosphere. Further, we cannot produce more helium once it is all extracted from the earth, as All methods to produce more helium are ridiculously costly and for many applications where helium is used, there is no alternative to helium!

In response to the element’s scarcity, the U.S. has been stockpiling helium since the 60's in an underground reservoir but in the 90's the Helium Privatization Act mandated that the U.S. sell off all the stockpiled helium by 2015 which is the equivalent of 40% of the world market of helium at a BELOW-market price.

In 2013, Congress finally approved a bill to maintain the reserves and not sell helium at below market rate but that does not change the fact that Helium is not renewable.

Finally, in 2008, 78% of the world’s helium was extracted in the U.S. and we have historically supplied most of the world’s helium but it has been squandered on balloons & other nonsense; there are shortages of Helium presently, and it's going to get MUCH worse! There is about 100 years TOPS of helium left, when it's gone that's it!
canuck44
canuck44 1
Most of our helium is extracted from Natural Gas and the introduction of fracking has increased the supply of both as it can be recovered from up to 5-7% of the gas. Your point though is well taken.
SunkenLunkenCFI
Robin Shaw 0
What are you proposing we "save" it for?
If we can't use it, why have it?
KineticRider
Randy Marco -3
Robin first you need to improve your reading skills, no where did I say "can't use it" I said it's criminal to squander helium as there is no realistic way to produce it and it's an essential element with a finite supply that is running out.

Second you need to educate yourself, it couldn't be any easier with Google and whatever device you used to post your drivel.

Helium is irreplaceable for use in such inconsequential things like SCIENCE, which apparently you have no knowledge of. It has critical uses that no other element can provide such as cryogenics used for superconducting magnets used in bleeding edge applications like MRI machines, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Tevatron at Fermilab, and the ring at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN furthering research in areas of physics that we don't fully understand that will change the world. I suggest you read before you say ignorant things, you sound like trump.
SunkenLunkenCFI
Robin Shaw 0
Ah, a LibTard.
Now I understand your post completely.
Things that YOU want to use it for are fine, things that others want to use it for are "criminal".
Thanks for reinforcing to the world how democrats want to control people's lives.
KineticRider
Randy Marco 0
Your ignorance is extremely unbecoming. Turn off Faux News, read a science book and educate yourself, improve your mind, those around you will be grateful and you'll find you won't be embarrassing yourself so much!
SunkenLunkenCFI
Robin Shaw 0
Of the two of us, the only one displaying ignorance is you.
Reading an article off a google link does not make you an expert or put you in control.
If you want to have any say over how a commodity is or is not used, buy it and re-sell it for your pet projects.
Otherwise STFU.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

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