WEATHER: past blimps and zeppelins have all been constructed out of flimsy materials such
as doped canvas, and rubberized or plastic coated synthetic fabrics. All are susceptible to tearing, and all degrade in ultraviolet light. This has resulted in craft that had little structural strength to begin with, and lessened the more they were flown.
Even though these could fly in virtually any kind of weather, they are not. The difficulty is not the wind, rain, snow, fog or what have you; the difficulty is the ground handling. Because these past airships are so flimsy and cumbersome, landing or taking off while being hauled about by a ground crew, or docking at a mooring mast, or moving in and out of a protecting hangar, becomes a nightmare as the airships are tossed about in varying air currents.
Historic losses of large airships were generally due to flight in extremes of weather; ie: thunderstorms. In the early years of lighter-than-air aviation, there were no modern weather prediction methods such as radar or satellites; and airships were flown in hazardous conditions, often by sight alone. Upon encountering severe weather, an airship (then) could not move quickly enough to avoid it if need be, nor aware in most cases that weather conditions were to severe for the structural integrity of the airship.
HOW TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM:
(1) Construct airships of aluminum and carbon fiber. These materials are light enough to replace historic materials, yet they can be made extremely strong and weatherproof. They do not degrade in ultraviolet light.
(2) Cease docking airships at mooring masts and using ground crews for assistance in landing or take off. Instead, design airships to land directly onto the surface, land or water. This necessitates a change from the "rounded belly" shape of all past airships. It is an easy and common sense solution.
(3) Cease placing airships inside of hangars. Building airships out of sturdy weatherproof materials enables this change; just as a lightweight geodesic dome is used as a primary building.
MANEUVERABILITY: Past blimps and zeppelin type airships only have rudders/elevators at the stern of the craft; whilst engine thrust has been placed far in front of those to the center of the airships' hulls. This makes them extremely cumbersome to steer, much like a sailboat. The only steerage available is at speed; when the airship slows down to land or take off, it cannot readily be steered or controled. This is one reason why ALL past airships have needed to be literaly "man handled" into position by large ground crews.
Flight characteristics of past airships have been adversely effected by this rudder/power arrangement as well. Because of the long lag time between rudder or elevator commands and actions of the airships; they tend to "porpoise" in flight, or swerve off course repeatedly.
Because all past airships have been constructed of flimsy materials, they have been unable to use heavier, more powerful engines that might be employed to reduce the buffeting or force of winds in poor weather conditions.
HOW TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS:
(1) By constructing airships of strong materials, they can be made larger and carry much more powerful engines; even jet engines. This will enable them to avoid, or reduce the effects of varying winds and poor weather conditions.
(2) Building rigid airships with interior framing allows engines to be placed away from the center bottom location as in the past. This can permit thrust to be directed to ANY direction; thereby making the airship much more stable and able to counter variable air currents.
(3) Constructing airships out of very strong materials, and proper design of framing members, allows the airships to carry multiple engines, some dedicated to primary propulsion, some dedicated to maneuver.
(4) Use of directed thrust, and placing elevators forward on the airship as well as at the stern allows for more control in flight.
Q: How would they fly safely in any weather?
A: Turtle airships use multiple engines, all of which can direct thrust to any direction. Sensors placed throughout the airship measure forces brought about by varying air currents many times each second; and computers then determine where to apply compensating thrust in order to maintain stability during flight. Of course, the Turtle airships' hull is strong enough to allow it to withstand poor weather conditions. First rule of airship flight....simply avoid bad weather. Airships can do so because they do not have to fly in a straight line from point A to point B in order to conserve fuel, as do airplanes.
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