The Airship

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The Hindenburg is undoubtedly one of the most famous disasters in history, filmed live by the news agencies present that day in Lakehurst. But it was not the only airship accident, nor the most tragic. Four other accidents caused more casualties, the most deadly being that of the US Navy airship USS Akron , destroyed in a thunderstorm in with 73 deaths out of its 76 occupants.

Airship - Wikipedia

In total, more than people have lost their lives in airship accidents. But it is also worth mentioning the impeccable track record of ships like the mythical Graf Zeppelin , which completed flights over nine years, including a round the world trip and an arctic voyage, crossing the Atlantic times and transporting more than 34, passengers without suffering a single mishap.

In fact, despite the enormous impact of the Hindenburg accident, according to Grossman the death knell for airships had sounded more than a year earlier.

In spite of everything, airships have never disappeared. For decades they have lasted, e specially for promotional, tourist and aerial observation purposes. Nowadays they are filled with non-flammable helium, but this is not new: in the golden age of the zeppelins, the USA was already using this gas, while Germany lacked production and thus could only use hydrogen. Modern dirigibles are far removed from their ancestors in terms of technology. The Airlander 10 of the British Hybrid Air Vehicles HAV , today the largest in the world, has a curious design that generates lift when moving forward through the air, which contributes to its flotation—a hybrid system between airship and aircraft.

The American company Lockheed Martin is also building hybrid airships with which it plans to distribute humanitarian aid and cargoes to remote regions. NASA itself has looked into the concept of the airship for a hypothetical exploration of Venus. In more realistic terrain, entities such as the Keck Institute of Space Studies propose this system as an alternative to satellites for the investigation of Earth or space. Another question is whether airships will ever again sail the skies above the oceans with passengers on board.

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Airship’s return can boost hydrogen economy

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