Solar Powered "Turtle Airship": The New Way to Fly, Redux
Airship design circa 1817
Why do I feel like what I’m about the present isn’t real—that’s it’ll come out that it’s really just a big sociology experiment on the gullibility of bloggers?
We covered Darren Campbell’s Turtle Airships about eight months ago, but Mr Campbell has just issued another pronouncement about the great turtle airship future that is so (cough) enthusiastic that I am compelled to share it. I’ll let the original text work its magic.
"Giant Flying Turtles to Revolutionize Global Aviation with Solar Power"
A new way to fly! Turtle Airships company announces the beginning of construction of a demonstration model of a new form for lighter-than-air airships. The airships are not blimps. They are solar powered and will reach speeds of 200 mph
Construction has started on a first prototype and the first flight and testing is scheduled to be done in Singapore this year. Turtle Airships will make a demonstration around-the-world flight of the new solar powered airship in 2009.
The airships' hulls are covered with solar cells which power the airships during daylight hours. For flying at night or cloudy weather, the airships use bio-diesel fueled jet engines as a back-up system. The airships cruise at speeds which are comparable to some airplanes.
The airships take off and land straight up and down like a helicopter and are amphibious. They land directly onto the water and take on water ballast for stability like a boat. The airships can land in harbors, rivers, mountain lakes, or the middle of the ocean.
There’s more in the press release about the company’s investment plans ($200 million by 2012), expected initial public offering ($3 billion in 2015), and dashed plans for deployment by the US Department of Defense as military transport.
Aviation Mock-Up or Whack-A-Mole Prize?
However the fact that the only photo available of the turtle airship (at left) makes it look more at home on the end of a small stick at an amusement park than in the skies over the Somali coast patrolling for pirates (straight from the press release folks...), coupled with the fact that the Turtle Airship website is a single fuzzy black and white page with an email address, doesn’t exactly give me confidence.
Would love to be proved wrong on this one, but something tells me I won’t. You’ve got to admire his chutzpah though. Darren, if you read this, I want to be the first one on board for a commercial flight. Seriously.