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An Airship Update

We’ve written before about the emergence of blimp-like airships for military applications, including crafts from Aeros and Northrop Grumman.

There are other companies touting the benefits of blimps, including Ohio Airships (based in the home state of one of the most famous blimps). The company’s Dynalifter is NOT a blimp, but a blimp-shaped craft that combines helium lift with wings and canards, so that it can operate with a wider combination of loads and buoyant lift. It can descend of ascend without venting expensive (and increasingly scarce) helium, and takes off and lands like an airplane (see video below).

According to the company, its rigid internal structure allows greater cargo loads relative to the airframe mass. It can accommodate between 45,000 lbs. and 300,000 lbs. of cargo in its detachable cargo pods. Since it’s not lighter than air, it would be much easier to land, as well as load and unload on the ground.

In addition to moving cargo, the vehicles could be used as portable hospitals or even as luxury cruisers (sort of like going yachting, but in the sky).

While the company received some buzz a few years ago, actually getting the prototype flying has presented some challenges, in part because of problems with the FAA, as well as a lack of funds.

While the Dynalifter struggles, other companies are moving forward with different designs. Switzerland-based Solar Impulse has a solar-powered airship that can be used to move cargo and vital supplies to remote areas. The rigid airship from Aeros (mentioned previously) began ground and lift tests this month.

Source: Ohio Airships

About Brian Albright

Brian Albright is a contributing editor to Digital Engineering. Send e-mail about this article to DE-Editors@digitaleng.news.


  1. …and regarding the “Solar Impulse”, you can do far better with a Bell H-13 or equivalent. Ever see M*A*S*H*?