A version of this article appears in the June 23 edition of Aviation Week & Space Technology. Aviation is a notoriously cyclical business, but few sectors wax and wane quite as much as airships. Over the decades, interest in large airships has soared only to sink again. Most recently, the Pentagon invested hundreds of millions in the development of surveillance airships to operate unmanned for weeks over Afghanistan. But development delays, cost overruns and wind-down of the war led to ...

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