Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Turtle Airships

These folks are also focused on the cross country trucking market, as well they should. Their project is to provide a stiff skinned airship able to acquire higher speed.

Quite rightly they also observe that this will allow vastly larger vessels able to carry a few hundred passengers to be built in time.

There are ample economic incentives to scale up if material strength is up to the challenge. Thus once we see profitable long haul trucking established, a lot of other applications will arise. We are going to get quite used to seeing these birds up there.

It may even become a preferred method of short haul travel since we are looking at a bus load in which the craft can come into even a built up area to pick up passengers if the handling equipment can be designed to hold the craft.

If it can land and load like a bus and then move at close to a hundred mile per hour, it will be perfect for short commuter flights.

Stiff skin design allows for a somewhat faster passage through the air, but the claims of 200 mph is a fantasy. At that speed you would have wing lift able to do the whole job. Why bother then? It will allow a comfortable thirty percent improvement over a likely 60 to 70 mph for an ordinary design because of the reduction in drag. It laminar flow is also initiated at the leading edges, it will be possible to get a lot of additional speed.

An operating speed of close to 120 mph seems plausible and is a major challenge to other carriers. Add a thirty mph tail wind by skillful navigation and it is a quick trip to Chicago from LA.

It appears everyone has made the connection between present truck load size and desirable air ship design. Once there are several designs in the air providing service, markets will be proven able to handle much larger sizes. That will lead naturally to mega sized craft able to handle several shipping containers.

I do not see us engineering something able to handle thousands of tons anytime soon, but it may be that scalable.

In practice, this is a case of the bigger the better

First Solar Powered Airship Flight Around the World! (NOT a Blimp!)

SOLAR POWERED air transport is the future!

Turtle Airships has been working towards this goal for over two decades. Recent advancements in solar cell technologies is making solar powered flight possible; and several small airplanes are already flying.

However, only large airships have the room needed to carry enough solar cells to create aircraft that can carry large numbers of passengers or cargo. No airplane can do this, simply because they do not have the square foot capacity needed.

The "turtle" airship is NOT A BLIMP. Turtle Airships' goal is to create a worldwide airship industry; manufacturing and operating large numbers of rigid shelled, fast, amphibious, solar powered airships.

Turtle Airships is always pleased to answer questions about our business; and, will be pleased to discuss investment or joint venture opportunities, and to help other organizations create this new form of air transport.

We will build a solar powered airship and fly it around the world.

It will be constructed of high strength aircraft grade aluminum alloy reinforced with carbon fiber composites. The top half of the airship will be covered with thin film photovoltaic cells. Electric power generated by these solar cells will be stored in batteries, or used to drive four electric motor propellors. A back-up system will use a biodiesel powered engine to power a generator to allow the airship to fly during bad weather or at night.

The airship will be a true vertical take off/land craft; and will not need any airport runway or other ground facilities to operate from. The airship will be designed as an amphibious craft, able to land or take off from land or water. It will make several landings in unimproved fields and the middle of the ocean in order to demonstrate these capabilities.

The airship will carry 3-5 persons (pilot and media).

It will measure approximately 125' long x 75' wide and 30' in height.Cruise speed of the airship is expected to be 80-100 mph.

This promotional demonstration flight will highlight the capabilites of the "turtle" airship design.

Contract sales of larger airships will result from positive media exposure to this new form of SOLAR POWERED FLIGHT.

The planned route of the Round-the-World flight will travel eastward from a departure point in the U.S. southwest near the city of Phoenix; and is expected to include stops at these locations:

Friday, August 07, 2009

Solar Power Airships in Spain

(Valencia, Spain July 1, 2008)

Turtle Airships company will change the world aviation industry with 200mph solar powered airships.

Constructed with rigid shelled hulls of aluminum and carbon fiber, the airships look like giant turtles.

These 'turtle' airships are not blimps or zeppelins. The airships are being designed in Spain and the U.S., with construction and first flight testing to be done in Singapore this year.

Turtle Airships will make a demonstration around-the-world flight of a 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. The airships will also land on any empty field or at airports, and use built in systems to anchor to the surface without ground crew assistance. Turtle airships do not need huge hangars and can fly in any weather.

'Almost everyone immediately thinks of blimps or the Hindenburg' says company president, Darrell Campbell. 'The Turtle airship is far more advanced in technology and capabilities'.Although there are less than fifty blimps or zeppelins in the world now, Turtle Airships expects to field hundreds of its' solar powered airships. Turtle Airships plans to invest over $200 Million in airship manufacturing plants and airship operations by 2012; with an expected public offering to raise over $3 Billion scheduled for 2015.

To reach these goals the company will work with local and national Economic Development agencies throughout the world to train workers and develop solar powered airship programs Turtle Airships will also enter into joint ventures and is seeking venture capital and private investments which are directed toward alternative fuels and solar energy.The company will concentrate on building airships meant for the travel market, with secondary emphasis given to military applications. The company had been originally considered for a U.S. Department of Defense airship program called 'WALRUS', which was to create giant airships for military transport. Turtle Airships is designing airships for security surveillance and interdiction of pirates in the waters off of Somalia, Indonesia, and Nigeria.

Turtle Airships will also use 'flying hospitals' to deliver worldwide humanitarian aid. Carrying doctors, foods, emergency equipment and other supplies, airships can avoid delays and complex delivery systems by flying to disaster areas and landing directly where help is needed. The airships will be made available to the United Nations, International Red Cross, Red Crescent, and other aid organizations.

'Turtle Airships is the only company in the world that is focused on creating a new aviation industry based on solar powered flight' says Campbell, 'We can save over $100 Billion each year on fuel costs alone, another several hundred billion dollars in airport construction, and eliminate a major source of carbon emissions. Airships are a Trillion dollar industry, still in its' infancy, that will grow for decades.'

Darrell Campbell is the designer of the 'turtle' airship, and president of the twenty-seven year old company. For additional information, and direct email address, visit the company Web page at: or visit a company Web blog:

Q: What types of solar panels and amount of power would be needed?

A: The amount of power needed will of course vary with the size of the airships and the amount of propulsion desired. The solar power is meant to supply the needs of the ships at slow speeds of approximately 50mph. Higher speeds are derived from use of the biodiesel fueled jet engines.The type of solar cells are a key technology that enables the creation of this type of aircraft; because they are lightweight, the solar cells used are commonly known as Thin Film Photovoltaics. They are deposited, or printed, directly upon the surface of the rigid panels that make up a Turtle airship hull.

Q: At what stage is the prototype? What might happen in Singapore with initial flight?

A: Turtle Airships is a start-up company. We have initiated the first efforts to create the tooling that will be used to manufacture the rigid aluminum and carbon fiber panels that make up the Turtle airships' hull. This is the extent of our progress at this time. We expect that the immediate reaction of our first flight will be a long awaited acceptance of the viability of lighter-than-air flight that has been missing for decades. A true, proven solar powered flight will bring unparalleled benefits and change to air transport.

The work to be accomplished in Singapore reflects our interest in developing airships for use in Indonesia and other southeast asian countries, and our further commitment to bringing Turtle Airships to China and India.

Q: Raising $3 billion sounds like a huge amount. What financiers and economic development agencies are expressing interest so far?

A: Since financing remains unsettled, we cannot discuss it in particular; only give vague ideas. At the moment, most of the money interest is coming from agencies interested in using airships for humanitarian work. We recognize that a $3 Billion IPO is very ambitious; nevertheless, we anticipate that it will be a goal within reason, given that Turtle Airships will be marketing and selling airships that will be priced in the ranges that current airliners command. One indicator of the eventual valuation that Turtle Airships can reach is the formerly expected amount of money proposed to create an airship program for the U.S. military; that was expected to reach several billion dollars.

Q: What would it look like inside?

A: While Turtle Airships chooses to first concentrate on smaller airships that will be employed as 'flying workhorses'; that is, as craft that can carry smaller payloads of people and cargo on relatively short flights..........we do plan on fielding 'flying cruise ships'. These large airships will feature private staterooms with showers, dance floors, dining salons, health spas, libraries, etc. just as on a marine cruise ship. Alas, there will be no swimming pools!

Q: How would they fly safely in any weather?

A: Turtle airships use multiple engines, all of which can direct thrust to any direction. Sensors placed throughout the airship measure forces brought about by varying air currents many times each second; and computers then determine where to apply compensating thrust in order to maintain stability during flight. Of course, the Turtle airships' hull is strong enough to allow it to withstand poor weather conditions. First rule of airship flight....simply avoid bad weather. Airships can do so because they do not have to fly in a straight line from point A to point B in order to conserve fuel, as do airplanes.

Q: What has been happening with this for the past 27 years? What happened with the WALRUS program?

A: Turtle Airships has presented business plans to hundreds of potential partners and investors over the course of two decades. Very limited funds have been available to do this to an extent great enough to capture the attention of a wide audience. Heretofore, none have held enough interest, or had enough vision, to pursue the opportunity, and Turtle Airships was unable to get beyond a concept. Only the most recent hikes in oil prices, and concerns about Global Warming, have caused airships to be considered as potential investments worth investigation. 'WALRUS' was an initial foray into an airship program by the U.S. Department of Defense; which was intended to result in airships to be used in military transport roles. Although Turtle Airships had been considered by the Pentagon as a potential prime contractor for this program, initial grant monies went to comptitor companies with more history and resources. The technologies and designs considered were not then capable of meeting the desired aircraft specifications; and funding for the WALRUS program was cancelled. Instead, the Pentagon has focused on so called 'high altutude airships' and tethered aerostat systems.

Q: Why would the turtles succeed where other airships have failed in recent decades?

A: All prior airship operations have been hampered by the historic problems associated with this type of aircraft. They have been slow; fragile, needed huge hangars, and large ground crews and special mooring facilities. These have all combined to make flying airships a very poor business. The 'turtle' design eliminates these past difficulties. Some recent airship programs have tried to reach for the most advanced, largest airship development projects; these are a poor business model and have led to many failed airship companies. Turtle Airships will focus on creating smaller airships meant to do simple tasks; building them in large numbers rather than huge sizes immediately. This is a proper business model; generating revenues before moving on to more ambitous goals.

Q: How and why did you and others involved in the company get involved? Where has early funding come from?

A: Darrell Campbell designed the 'turtle' airship in 1980; as an expression of a personal desire to build a 'flying recreational vehicle' for himself and his family. That grew into an idea for a business. Partner Andrew Trefethen joined Turtle Airships after reading Darrells' book 'Helium Phoenix' and catching the vision of what Turtle can become. Other persons have become involved as they have decided to create a new air transport system that uses solar power; to change the world. Some have great desire to use airships for humanitarian work. Initial funding was made through the personal resources of the partners.

Q: How big are the airships and how many passengers can be carried?

A: The historic precedent for number of persons carried on a giant airship in the 1930's was 207. Using carbon fiber allows us to build airships that are stronger, but almost half as heavy as those early airships. Turtle Airships aims at fielding ships that will carry over 400 passengers. However, we see the greatest market for Turtle Airships to be airship sizes that are comparable to flying busses, or flying trucks; these would be approximately the length of a common blimp, but would be much wider, as though three blimps were joined together. These airships could serve as a new form of business aircraft. The smaller size also allows for more rapid mass production of airships; which is the Turtle Airships goal.

Q: Does Turtle Airships have any positions available? What types of people are needed?

A: No positions are currently available. Turtle Airships will operate an airship academy to train people for the company and to enter the airship industry as a whole; we will train personnel from other airship operators, or for businesses or agencies that purchase or lease airships from Turtle Airships. The training will involve everything from the history of airships, to design, to hands-on experience in building airships, and flight training. Our goal is to work with an established international organization of colleges to select students and recent graduates from around the world.

Q: How will the airships be used for humanitarian aid?

A: A related, sister, non-profit organization named TurtleDove Airships will operate airships configured as 'flying hospitals'. These will deliver doctors, medicines, food, water systems, and other emergency aid equipment to disaster victims around the world. Using airships for this purpose is more versatile and cost effective than other forms of transport. The airships will be made available to the United Nations, International Red Cross, Red Crescent. and other non-profit aid organizations.

Q: What can you reveal about Turtle Airships' goals?

A: Turtle Airships expects to be the world leader in the airship industry; with a design that will become the standard for other airship companies to follow. However, our goal lies far beyond merely building and operating airships. Ultimately, Turtle Airships wants to work with national and local economic development agencies and communities to create a global industry; to bring affordable, efficient, and versatile air transport to developing nations

Posted by Darrell Campbell

1 comment:

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