What will the future of air travel be? Is it solar-powered airplanes? Fuel-efficient planes with lower emissions? According to some scientists in the United Kingdom, the future of air travel can actually be found in our past. At the World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment this past June, Professor Sir David King, director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at the University of Oxford told conference attendees that in less than 10 years, blimps will overtake airplanes as a means of air transport and possibly even travel.
At a speeds of around 78mph, blimps or airships would be too slow to carry some time sensitive cargo, but with their lower fuel costs (takeoffs account for most of the energy consumption on a airplane) and large carrying capacity (much more room than the average Boeing 747 plane) they could offer a great alternative for reducing pollution in air transport. Airships are also beneficial because they do not require the use of airports or landing strips. If they are built with “lifts” to help move cargo, then the blimp can travel many places airplanes cannot, which would be useful for areas devastated by war or natural disaster, seeking humanitarian aid.
Companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin are already seeing the potential of blimps and are developing their own deisgns. The US Department of Defense is also following suit by issuing a large grant to work on the technology.
Story via The Guardian
Image via Tom Clifton