#9

Amis du steampunk, bonjour! Il paraît que les bons vieux Zeppelins vont peut-être reprendre du service – avec une nouvelle jeunesse. D’ores et déjà, un Zeppelin new look vient de prendre son service au-dessus du lac de Constence pour des vols de plaisance, et une compagnie allemande prépare l’avenir:

A new breed of hi-tech giant airships planned by a German company could be the heavy lift aircraft of the future.

The CargoLifter is intended to carry payloads of up to 160 tonnes – about the weight of 27 full-grown African elephants – at a speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) and a maximum height of 2,000 metres (6,500-feet) non-stop over several thousand kilometres.

Filled with 500,000 cubic metres (17.6 million cubic feet) of non-flammable helium, the airship will be 260 metres (850-feet) long and is designed to carry large loads to remote locations.

According to the German company behind the airship the CargoLifter will not need a landing strip and will have more endurance than a conventional aircraft.

To enable the craft to carry heavy weights the manufacturers have come up with a new design.

The large Zeppelins built early in the last century could carry big loads but they were themselves heavy. To keep them rigid they had a strong metal frame.

It would have taken three Zeppelins the size of the CargoLifter to carry the same payload.

The much smaller ‘blimps’ currently in operation consist of a lighter aerodynamically shaped envelope that, like a balloon, is kept rigid by the pressure of the gas. The pilot, passengers, and engines are carried in a gondola mounted underneath.

The CargoLifter is of a modified semi-rigid design. Like a blimp it has no frame, but to allow it to carry heavy weights the airship has a fixed keel which also houses the cargo bay, the flight deck, crew’s quarters and engines.

(source: BBC News)

Je trouve ça à la fois sidérant & enthousiasmant: c’est un peu comme une rencontre des rêves désuets de la littérature steampunk (dont les dirigeables sont une des principales icônes) et des songes high tech de la SF cyberpunk. On vit une époque formidable! 😉

Et comme je ne suis pas le seul que les dirigeables fassent rêver, à peine avais-je posté sur mon weblog le présent texte, qu’un copain (l’illustrateur de SF Jeam Tag) me donna plein d’adresses… Tout, tout, tout, vous saurez tout sur le sujet:

CargoLifter

Zeppelin NT

Blimps

Fabricant de mini-blimp

Lightships (dirigeables sans structure)

Millenium Airship (un nouveau concept de dirigeable)

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