Blimps used to be an aircraft of the past but over the last decade the technology has slowly been picked back up by aviation designers. Last year Northrop Grumman’s LEMV made its maiden flight, the Argus One blimp also began trials at Yuma. But now there’s a new contender for the skies, Aeros’ Pelican.
The 230ft-long airship recently completed tests to demonstrate the vehicles ability to taxi without the assistance from ground personnel.
Aeros Pelican Variable Buoyancy Airship
The Pelican blimp weighs 36,000lb, and uses compressed helium to make the vehicle heavier, or lighter than air. By compressing and releasing the helium between tanks and the composite aeroshell, the vehicle can vary its buoyancy by 3,000-4,000lbs. When the helium is compressed, the vehicle becomes heavier than air, when it’s released it becomes neutrally buoyant.
The Pelican is scheduled for more trials to test vertical take off, offloading payload without taking on ballast, and the rigidness of the lightweight aeroshell.
Aeros CEO Igor Pasternak says the company is now seeking additional funding for testing outside the hangar, however he does note that there are some modification that need completing before it will comply with FAA rules for flight testing.
Eventually Aeros wants to build a 450ft-long vehicle that can carry a payload of up to 66-tons over a range of 3,000nm.