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#1
Old 07-12-2001, 09:28 PM
NAM NAM is offline
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I'm curious... How much would a small (think Cessna slung under a gasbag) zeppelin cost me, and what sort of performance could I expect from it (ceiling, top speed, maximum weight, range)?

Specifically, how much must I invest, in current American dollars, for the structure, fuel, gas (hydrogen or helium, although I'd prefer helium), and licensing, assuming I design the thing myself, and the FAA actually approves the bloody thing?
#2
Old 07-12-2001, 10:05 PM
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From the FAQ at Airship and Blimp Resources:
Quote:
Q: I want to build an airship. Where do I start?

A:
Unless you have several hundred thousand dollars to spend, you should probably consider building a radio-controlled airship or a manned hot air balloon instead. If the financial requirements do not deter you, a book called "Building Gas Blimps - A Practical Guide to Building Small Gas Blimps" by Robert J. Recks will provide you with more detail. The book is available for approximately US$80 directly from the author (e-mail [email protected]).
The site also has a directory of airship manufacturers, with brief descriptions of each company and links to corporate homepages. It did note that Zeppelin has a new high-tech dirigible in the works for which "as of September 1997, 5 further ships were on order at a unit price of 12,5 million DM" (which would work out to about $5.4 million a pop). I gather that the Zeppelin NT is a bit more airship than you had in mind, though. I expect if you poke around on that site and the sites it links to, you should be able to find more info on the subject.
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#3
Old 07-12-2001, 10:39 PM
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If I remember correctly, helium costs a dollar per cubic meter, or 4 cents per cubic foot. Of course, you don't have to use helium. You could get a hot air airship. They don't list the price but claim it is "2% the cost of a modern helium-filled craft."

That price for a Zeppelin NT sounds pretty reasonable, actually. I thought the old Airship Industries (UK company that used to make modern blimps) cost almost $10 million each.

I think you need a storage hanger too, if you want to keep your blimp inflated. Not a problem with a hot air airship, but with helium blimps, I don't think you can easily deflate the envelope and store the helium for later use. You can't just tie it to your roof, it won't survive bad weather.
#4
Old 07-12-2001, 11:06 PM
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Let's get our terms straight. "Zeppelin" generally refers to a German rigid dirigible (say it five times fast), meaning a metallic frame covered with fabric, incorporating several gas cells within. I say "German" because the British, Italian, French, and American rigid dirigibles were never called Zeppelins.

These don't come cheap. A blimp (single gas-bag, dependent on the pressure within to keep its shape) would run you less bucks.

I didn't click the link, but I don't think hot air would give you enough lifting power to raise aloft all the hardware necessary to propell and guide your vehicle...and if you can't propell and guide it, it's not a "dirigible," is it?
#5
Old 07-12-2001, 11:15 PM
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Apart from the costs and problems of owning one, they are supposed to be very tricky to fly. Highly sensitive in weight and balance, and almost neutrally bouyant. Difficult to handle in wind, I've heard.

But I hope you do it, because I can't think of a cooler way to go for a $100 hamburger!
#6
Old 07-13-2001, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ukulele Ike
I didn't click the link, but I don't think hot air would give you enough lifting power to raise aloft all the hardware necessary to propell and guide your vehicle...and if you can't propell and guide it, it's not a "dirigible," is it?
Why don't you try clicking on the link? It is definitely a dirigible, equipped with an engine and a control system. It has an elongated envelope and fins with a functional rudder. I'm sure it's larger and less maneuverable than a helium blimp of comparable weight, but if it floats and can be controlled, I'd consider it an airship.
#7
Old 07-13-2001, 10:25 AM
NAM NAM is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Grok
But I hope you do it, because I can't think of a cooler way to go for a $100 hamburger!
My thoughts exactly (smiles). It better be the best durned hamburger in the world, though, if it costs $100! It better be, or this little zeppelin will demonstrate aerial bombing before planes came around...

Quote:
Originally by Ukelele Ike
I say "German" because the British, Italian, French, and American rigid dirigibles were never called Zeppelins.
Hmm... I've always called them 'zeppelins', regardless of national origin. I always thought that 'zeppelin' was just a generic term for a rigid, powered airship. Then again, 'dirgible' fits that catergory, too, so we're both right (or I'm wrong, or some multiple thereof...).
#8
Old 07-13-2001, 11:25 AM
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One of the manufactures in MEBuckner's link is American Blimp Corporation, which manufactures the "Lightship" blimp. Saw a piece on the guy who founded this company once. His big aim was to make a cheaper blimp which required less ground crew to operate. We're still talking a couple million dollars, though, and monthly operating costs in the hundred thousands, even if he has apparently built the Geo Metro of blimpdom. This company makes a lot of the blimps you see serving as floating billboards.
#9
Old 07-14-2001, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by NAM
Hmm... I've always called them 'zeppelins', regardless of national origin. I always thought that 'zeppelin' was just a generic term for a rigid, powered airship. Then again, 'dirgible' fits that catergory, too, so we're both right (or I'm wrong, or some multiple thereof...).
A dirgible is a steerable airship, a zeppelin is a rigid dirgible, and a blimp is a non-rigid dirgible.

Eric
#10
Old 07-15-2001, 12:00 AM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by NAM
[B]
Quote:
Originally posted by Grok
Quote:
Originally by Ukelele Ike
I say "German" because the British, Italian, French, and American rigid dirigibles were never called Zeppelins.
Hmm... I've always called them 'zeppelins', regardless of national origin. I always thought that 'zeppelin' was just a generic term for a rigid, powered airship. Then again, 'dirgible' fits that catergory, too, so we're both right (or I'm wrong, or some multiple thereof...).
Zeppelin is a brand name. Made in Germany, originally by Ferdinand von Zeppelin.
#11
Old 07-15-2001, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
My thoughts exactly (smiles). It better be the best durned hamburger in the world, though, if it costs $100! It better be,
I had a $250 lemonade and a $300 Pepsi.
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