Turtle Airships: Not Slow, But Hardshelled
Edward de Bono, the champion of lateral thinking is credited with saying "It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all."
One such ideas person is Darrell Campbell, who stumbled upon some of our earlier airship posts, in particular the AerosCraft, which he likes though naturally thinks his designs are better. Darrell professes to be the orginator of the design and technology promoted by Millennium Airship (That's their pic above) but he is working on his own even more improved design currently—the Turtle Airship.
His vision is for a fleet of rigid shelled airships. To this shell of aluminium, titanium, or stainless steel he envisages despositing amorphous thin film photovoltaic cells. Their solar generated electricity would drive motors that used super-conducting magnets in lieu of copper wire. Biodiesel generators would be on board as back-up power. The airships themselves would filled with helium inside an rigid inner skin, protected by a skeleton frame and outer skin (the one with the solar panels). Darrell suggest that "current commercial airplane operations spend $100 Billion each year on fuel", so is excited by his idea of providing air transport with minimal fuel needs.
He believes his rigid shell airship design eliminates mooring masts traditionally used by blimps. And because of the vertical take-off aspect don't need vast amounts of land for aircraft landings.
If you'd like to muse on the rightness, or otherwise, of such ideas with Darrell, float over to his blog at ::Turtle Airships.