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  1. #1
    Baluchitherium The Rover's Avatar
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    10.26.16 @ 11:47 PM
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    Default New Zeppelin rises in Southern California,3647034.story

    Sept. 1, 2012

    Not since the waning days of World War II have the mammoth wooden blimp hangars at the former military base in Tustin seen as much airship manufacturing work as they do today.

    Inside the 17-story structures that rise above southern Orange County, Worldwide Aeros Corp. is building a blimp-like airship designed for the military to carry tons of cargo to remote areas around the world.

    "Nobody has ever tried to do what we're doing here," Chief Executive Igor Pasternak said of the 265-foot skeleton being transformed into the cargo airship. "This will revolutionize airship technology."

    Residents of Southern California are no strangers to airships. The Goodyear blimp, based next to the 405 Freeway in Carson, regularly lumbers its way across Southland skies and settles above the Rose Bowl and other locations for televised views from overhead. Goodyear imitators also dot the skies above other venues.

    But in recent years, the affordability of airships as well as developments in high-definition cameras, high-powered sensors and other unmanned technologies have turned these oddball aircraft from curiosities of a bygone era to must-have items for today's military. And airships increasingly are being used for civilian purposes.

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    The federal government is buying blimps, zeppelins and spy balloons, and many of these new-generation hybrid "lighter than air" aircraft are taking shape across California.
    "So much is going on with airships in California now," Pasternak said. "It wasn't this way 10 years ago."

    Pasternak's Montebello firm makes airships used for surveillance, advertising and transport. Lockheed Martin Corp. designs and builds airships for commercial use at its secretive Skunk Works facility in Palmdale. Northrop Grumman Corp. does design work for airships around the Southland but is building them in Florida.

    Although these steerable aircraft are sometimes known casually as blimps, there are differences. A blimp is shaped by the gas inside of it, whereas a zeppelin has a rigid skeleton inside. The helium-filled sky balloons, or aerostats, used over Afghanistan are neither blimps nor zeppelins. But they all fall under the term "airship."

    The importance of these next-generation airships became obvious to the Pentagon as increased use of drones highlighted the need for stationary aircraft that could provide constant surveillance, not just overhead flights for a few hours. That's where these unmanned blimps came into play, with their ability to linger over an area for days at a time.

    Using balloons, blimps and zeppelins in a war zone is not a new idea. The military used balloons for aerial observation posts during the Civil War, and the Germans used zeppelins to drop bombs on England during World War I. Locally, massive blimps regularly patrolled the Pacific Ocean coastline looking for Japanese submarines and other warships during World War II.

    Pasternak's Aeroscraft being built in Tustin is a zeppelin with a rigid skeleton made of aluminum and carbon fiber. A new type of hybrid aircraft that combines airplane and airship technologies, the Aeroscraft doesn't need a long runway to take off or land because it has piston engines that allow it to move vertically and a new high-tech buoyancy control system.

    Public perception of airships has been guarded ever since the giant Hindenburg burst into flames in 1937 in front of news cameras while mooring at Lakehurst, N.J. The explosion of the hydrogen-filled German zeppelin killed 36 people, shocked the public and deflated the chances of lighter-than-air ships becoming a popular mode of travel.

    These days, airships are filled with nonflammable helium, but the Hindenburg tragedy remains vivid to many even today.

    Lockheed has plans for a larger version, called SkyFreighter, that would be capable of carrying 70 tons of cargo, and an even larger version, called SkyLiner, that would measure 800 feet and be capable of lifting 500 tons of cargo.

    Within three years, Boyd said, his company could be manufacturing as many as 30 airships a year.

    "People don't recognize it, but Southern California is the epicenter for hybrid airships," he said. "We'll certainly be filling the sky with something unusual in the coming years."
    Last edited by The Rover; 09.13.12 at 02:55 PM.

  2. #2
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    08.23.16 @ 04:25 PM
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    Hindenburg anyone?
    It is what it is

    I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said

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  3. #3
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    10.27.16 @ 04:37 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by evhisagod View Post
    Hindenburg anyone?
    "These days, airships are filled with nonflammable helium.."


  4. #4
    Martha! Number 47's Avatar
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    10.27.16 @ 11:21 AM
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    Thanks Rover. Good reading.

    That rocks!



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