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on Mar 30, 2016

So it is really short range and can carry half the weight of an M1A1 at lower FWY speeds. On the bright side at maximum range and speed it will take a full day for one trip and the pilots should be making some serious cash! You would think that after 80 years it would be possible to build a safer and better Hindenburg that could cross the Atlantic with 133 passengers and crew at 85 mph.

on Mar 30, 2016

Every thirty years or so there is a fad in the aviation community to revisit the days of the Zeppelin. The US Navy flew a huge fleet of Air ships in WWII and not a whole lot is written about the amount of money spent vs. returns. The 60s came and went, no airships, and the same for the 70s. The 80s came, "Helistat" was invented, and the result was a wrecked Helistat and some dead personnel. The 90s came and the 2000s, no airships were mentioned. Now it's the late twenty-teens and some engineers have discovered the benefits of lighter-than-air. My hope is some review board will raise objections and the cynical part of me wonders how many will be killed or injured in a "Helistat"-like debacle.

on Apr 13, 2016

Considering they are primarily carrying cargo I doubt it will be that many.

on Mar 31, 2016

Cosmic Observer is precisely correct!

on Mar 30, 2016

Helium is only getting more expensive in the future.

on Mar 30, 2016

I recall that Helium is a by-product of Natural gas in some areas of the US. We would not sell it to Germany, prior to and during WWII. The Hindenburg was a marvelous machine. The US Navy operated a large fleet of (non-rigid) airships on both coasts during WWII, doing Submarine Patrol. There is an air Museum at NAS Tillamook.

on Mar 30, 2016

Is there anyone who thinks they will sell more than 10? There is a better way see ConcordLift.

on Mar 30, 2016

Straightline Aviation has signed on for 12, with first delivery in 2018, so, yeah, they will sell more than 10. LM have flown a prototype, have funded production and have marketed and sold units. Concordlift is a paper concept, with zero funding, zero backing and zero chance of ever getting off the paper brochure.

on Mar 30, 2016

Wonder what the market is for transport in remote areas that DON"T get bad weather? Too slow to outrun it, can't go high enough to get over it and needs a hanger to shelter on the ground from it.

on Mar 30, 2016

The comments on not being as efficient at hauling people as traditional aircraft reminds me of the Archer episode "Skytanic".

"Hello? Airplanes? It's blimps, you win! Bye!"

Very, very funny (if somewhat adult).

on Mar 30, 2016

23.5 tons at 60 knots... it would be far, far cheaper to lease a 747 or an AN-225 to deliver the cargo than tie up the capital with something that does not have the speed or cargo ability of a semi-truck.

on Mar 30, 2016

You missed the point. LM's hybrid airship will go where there's no runway or infrastructure to accommodate jets or planes.

on Mar 30, 2016

Actually I know the point but don't accept the premise that the world has little infrastructure. This is 2016 and soon to be 2017. We're only talking a little less than 23 tons of cargo. Heavy helicopters and mere trucks can get cargo to 99.99% of the reasonable destinations in the world. This airship is far too pokey to be used in the Antarctic. Cargo aircraft flown by 3rd world pilots are far faster, far less capital intensive, and - with regret this is written - a lot more expendable.

on Mar 30, 2016

You've just proved that you didn't really get the point.

on Mar 31, 2016

You're pretty good at insults but not coming up with countering facts. 60 knots is not fast enough to out run a weather system. A good number of the old Zeppelins were lost due to weather. This proposed ship largely has the same size and power ratio of the old rigid airships from 80 years past. A Mi-26 helicopter can carry the about the same size cargo load and isn't as dependent on the weather. Why get an expensive powered gas bag when you could rent a Russian cargo helicopter for a fraction of the price?

Then again this might be a front for a "black project". Lockheed Martin engineers know that airships are obsolete. So, this has the feel of a black project because there is no possible pay off.

on Mar 31, 2016

For a start, the Mi26 has a range of only around 350miles when fully loaded.
A front for a black project? No wonder you have a yahoo email address.

on Apr 1, 2016

Hey, I have a yahoo. address WT

on Apr 7, 2016

I appreciate your view but consider it ill-informed. You suggest weather systems moving across the ground at 60kts! Where do you find these? You suggest a number of the old zeppelins were lost to weather. Can you elaborate? What were the causes and what factors contributed to such losses? To what degree are airships susceptible to weather? flight ops vs. ground ops. What are the weather limitations and what drives them? What type of weather are you suggesting causes the loss of the airship? That you compare the Mi-26 with a powered gas bag suggests you do not have a good grasp of LTA...of the conventional design compared to the hybrid design. Can you express, factually, the differences between the zeppelin and the hybrid concept? What are the pro's and con's of each? What is the market the Lockheed hybrid is targeted to satisfy? Do you truly feel the Mi-26 could satisfy this market? In what way? Explain the logistics to support your view. I could certainly go on, but it is the negative, ill-informed comments like yours that really get my back up.

on Apr 1, 2016

You obviously know little of Canada's far North. I have friends who drive the I've roads. Once they melt, there is little access to many areas. To far for helicopters. No runways for fixed wing aircraft. And soil often not suitable for building a runway on. Small plans equipped with floats are often the option for emergency evacuation, say medical. But I don't know of any amphibious cargo planes. And you'd still need infrastructure to unload. And there's a significant portion of the year, that I've is not thick enough for ice roads, but still covers any possible landing sites for float planes.
I'm curious to see how they make out.

on Apr 7, 2016

Good point...good example. Delivery of critical supplies to the hundreds of small villages (Nunavut Territory) create an obvious market...civil and governmental. I would like to know the experience of those commenting with negative views...just curious to understand the basis of your opinion. It appears very armchair to me. With today's technological advances in weather forecasting, cockpit avionics, navigation, systems etc...how can the successes or failures of the zeppelins over eighty years ago compare? I would argue the zeppelin did not fail...rather argue they were incredibly successful considering the accomplishments. Lockheed Martin are not fly-by-night and would not invest in such an endeavor without considerable due diligence.

on Mar 30, 2016

Will go where there is no infrastructure providing the weather is fine. Going to need somewhere to get it under cover or tie it down very firmly if the wind gets up...

on Mar 30, 2016

Shame no photos.
Or hasn't it flown yer?

on Mar 30, 2016

I agree with Ronw. The only reason for this vehicle is to go where you would otherwise use a helicopter or tilt-rotor. Unfortunately, that is only half-right. Since this guy is HUGE, and generates a significant portion of its lift from forward speed, it will indeed need much more infrastructure in place before it deploys than would a vertol. Clearly Lock-Mart has done some homework and believes that there are customers out there. (And they are apparently right if the claim of firm orders in hand is correct, although I have to take that with a grain of salt.) But the only credible use for this thing is for peacetime in relatively uncontested areas. It is too big, slow, and lucrative a target in any other environment. It would most likely be helping someone go in after natural resources of some kind - oil, coal, timber... But if that is what you are after, you will have to keep paying the vehicle operator for years. I suspect that if you do the math, you are going to start building roads and save a bundle in the long term. So this vehicle is just a kick-starter for you, and will be heading back to the hangar once you get your first few loads out there. Is that really enough of a market to make this worthwhile? I don't think so, but hey, what do I know?

on Mar 30, 2016

And the take-off roll of a C-130 with RATO is what? Can't make a runway 200 yards long? The weak point for airships is weather and their inability to avoid it, the cost of hangers alone makes this aircraft a black hole for cash.

on Apr 13, 2016

Can it LAND on a runway 200 yards long?

on Mar 30, 2016

The economic inefficiency of this program is startling. US$40 million for a blimp with a basic cockpit panel (Garmin 1000, Garmin 750 = $45,000 on both sides = $90,000)
It seems to be another government boondoggle. And a light wind would render it unflyable (60 Knot cruise? Ridiculous). Most days winds average 20 kts so these folks pretend they can operate in remote environments where (typically) climates are variable.
And to pretend they can put 19 people in a windowless box at 60 kts is a joke. Surely they aren't serious.

on Mar 30, 2016

Government boondoggle? LM have developed this with their own money. Get a clue.

on Apr 13, 2016

"And to pretend they can put 19 people in a windowless box at 60 kts is a joke."

Uh if you actually LOOKED at the article you would see the passenger cabin has rather HUGE windows... DUH!

on Mar 30, 2016

So many negative opinions here reminds me of the once held belief that human beings couldn't breath properly if they traveled faster than 20-mph. Consequently, I'm thinking maybe this fear-based belief should be mentioned here also to discredit the LMH-1.

Actually, Modern Airship Technology should have it's day to prove, or disprove, it's viability.

on Mar 30, 2016

Not to worry, an Airship brought to you by the JSF Shareholders.

on Mar 30, 2016

So it has a payload (a real payload, doesn't include full internal fuel) of a small semitrailer and goes as fast (net) for 1,000 + miles. And costs $20M. Hmmmm.

Comparison to C-130 RATO may be okay operationally but how many RATOs have you seen outside of some very special places/situations? As I understand it the acceleration tears the life out of the airframe, reducing it substantially and there aren't that many RATO boosters around and they cost the earth.

The Navy, in addition to antisub patrol in WW II back and forth across the Atlantic flew AEW semiridgid airships into the 1960s until the USAF built enough early warning radars on texas towers (how many were lost to weather...at least one spectacularly). These ZPG-3Ws operated up and down the Atlantic coast and as I recall were efficient and safe (not that I was there at the time). The Pacific counterpart was the barrier patrol from NAS Barbers Point Hawaii to NAS Adak AK. Using WVs (variant of Lockheed (Hmm a theme here?) SuperConnies) some were lost to weather or mechanical problems or a combination.

Lets see what Lockheed does with this. I could see using them instead of trucks and possibly ships for cargo and at 60KTS they are substantially faster than cargo ships. Terminal facilities and services in unimproved environments could be a problem but if a company could reduce by one or 2 the number of big expensive drill rigs or compressors or prime movers they needed as spares the $20M or a good fraction could be covered.

on Mar 30, 2016

Reminds me very strongly of the Aereon from John McPhee's "Deltoid Pumpkin Seed".

on Mar 30, 2016

I keeping thinking three things:
1) one it will put the show "Ice Road Truckers" out of business
2) A normal semi truck loaded is 40 tones
3) Easy pickings for an: RPG, Grenade launcher, shoulder launched missile, ect.

on Mar 31, 2016

"1) one it will put the show "Ice Road Truckers" out of business
2) A normal semi truck loaded is 40 tones"

1. Last time I checked a semi-truck costs about $3 - 4 per mile for operational costs, fuel, driver, etc. No aircraft is close to a truck for cargo capability & costs per mile.

2. A semi truck can carry twice the cargo of this glorified blimp. Dead head is dead head and at $4 a mile it's a lot cheaper than a blimp. A blimp would have twice the dead head of a truck.

Sub notes...

A truck is only half as slow as this blimp. Off the ice they can do 100 KPH and average speed is 50 KPH.

The trucks can operate 24/7 during the winter.

The oil & mining companies do their heavy moving during the winter. Fixed wing aircraft do the higher end cargo runs. The Antonov AN-2 is the perfect aircraft for the north. It would be great to own the Canadian dealership to sell that aircraft.

on Apr 13, 2016

Last time I checked semis have difficulty going off road and over liquid water. Trucks do not operate 24-7 during the winter as they are at the mercy of weather and blocked roads etc... Oh and this is not a blimp.

on Mar 31, 2016

The JSF money is poring at high rate at LM, and they have time to do some useless mock-ups and not focusing on solving JSF problems!
US tax are being raped big time!

on Mar 31, 2016

Obviously Soviet Sam thinks that a large company can't have more than one division, department, project, engineer or idea at a time.
Haven't you met your daily quota for useless postings yet?

on Apr 13, 2016

Ol Alexi reminds me of "5 O'Clock Charlie" on the series M*A*S*H.

on Mar 31, 2016

Let's not be too quick to dismiss the economics of airships based on this 23.5 ton prototype, which is actually quite small for an airship. Remember the "square-cube law": the bigger they get, the better they work. There's at least one other manufacturer out there (Aeros Corp) that has a 200 ton version in the works, and I'm sure Lockheed has bigger versions in mind as well.

on Mar 31, 2016

You're comment appends (rhymes) to my prior comment. Airships have always been "too quick to dismiss" since heavier-than-air-invested-interests have become the status quo. Historically, if you have the potential to disrupt the status quo, then you become controversial to say the least.

Overall, I've enjoyed this spirited discussion!

on Mar 31, 2016

I would not like to be responsible for any blimp in a good Arctic storm as a pilot or owner.
The ice and snow load could be huge and gusty winds with poor visibility would not help either. These factors don't jump to mind in a comfy design office. If it's use is restricted to fair weather flying only where do you park it in a storm? Meanwhile what happens to its economic value?

on Mar 31, 2016

You make a good point, but there's quite a complicated trade space involved. In doing research on an airship version of ABL I learned that the Aeros Corp. ML868 is designed to carry 250 tons at 12,000', but at 20,000' it can still carry about 150 tons -- and that's on buoyancy alone. With aerodynamic lift it could be expected to get much higher if necessary. Also, its speed is expected to be in the 100mph range, which should allow it to maneuver around major storms. I'm not saying it's a perfect vehicle for all circumstances, but I do believe airships will find a very useful and economical niche between ships and aircraft.

on Apr 3, 2016

Building runways and roads is not always practical, or even possible. This thing should be compared more with rotorcraft than fixed wing.

on Apr 4, 2016

The airship concept has been around for a long time. Only time will tell how successful it will be. This appears to be a major upgrade and just might be another winner for LM. Having flown and worked on the C-130 Hercules, a great reliable bird that was developed in 1956, I can say this great bird has been an enormous success after 60 years of service. Still looks to be flying for at least another 30 years if not more. We landed the C-130 Herc's on a dime in Vietnam and didn't need more than a nickel to get out of a hot LZ. I believe it was a lifesaver for many of my generation. I'm disappointed in the progress of the F-35, not to mention the cost. It won't surprise me if the project is ultimately cancelled. Heads should roll at both the Pentagon and LM over this boondoggle. If Trump is the next POTUS, he said he will cancel this lemon. We need to get back to more nuts and bolts thinking instead of birds so loaded with unproven design/electronics they keep our military and taxpayers from having what they need/deserve. It apparently is useless in air-to-air combat. I question if it can really give our troops the ground support they need and deserve. Keep the A-10s until we "truly" find a viable next generation replacement. Best wishes to the old/new airships.

on Apr 13, 2016

"It apparently is useless in air-to-air combat."

You have been reading these comment board "experts" too much.

on Apr 5, 2016

It is a prototype and seems to get some orders, normally the next iteration is bigger and better and get more orders. You never know before which applications will succeed, it might be a good tool for extreme sports nuts, celluar phone masts, bikini marketing etc. Only the market and LM engineers adapting the requirements will show if they succeed.

on Apr 5, 2016

Hmmm, having worked with a former airship chief engineer, who didn't a have a nice thing to say about the practicalities of airships, I really wonder how these would complete against a simple large aircraft i.e single engine, fixed gear, non pressurized

Something like giant Cessna caravan type aircraft powered by Europrop TP400 (should give a payload about 50000 lb +).

on Apr 13, 2016

Since the maximum cargo capacity of the Cessna SuperCargomaster EX is about 4,500 pounds how in the world do you figure a giant one could carry 50,000+? That's also not taking into account the limited size of the loads even if it could somehow reach that.

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