Friday, February 03, 2006

Blimp-Plane Hybrid

"Dynalifter is a hybrid aircraft," said Robert Rist, a co-founder of Ohio Airships Inc., the Mantua-based company that built the aircraft. "The only comparison [with a blimp] is that they both use helium."

Unlike a blimp, the Dynalifter has wings and is a heavier-than-air aircraft. Its weight is carried by aerodynamic lift on the wings and hull and is augmented by helium lift.

The prototype airship, which Rist and his business partner Brian Martin hope to test fly this spring, is one-eighth the size of their ultimate goal: a 990-foot-long (300-meter-long) Dynalifter.

Such a craft could move materials at a lower cost than airplanes and at higher speeds than ships, they believe. It could also deliver supplies to hard-to-reach places, making it especially useful in military and emergency situations.

They initially based their model on an idea for a hybrid aircraft conceived by aviation tycoon Howard Hughes. Hughes's project, known as the Clark Megalifter, was scrapped after his death.

Blimp-Plane Hybrid: World's Next Megamover?


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