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* Posts by heliumblimp

15 posts • joined 21 Sep 2010

Record flight is step toward HYPERSONIC SPACE AIRSHIP

heliumblimp

Helium

It is only the US strategic Helium reserve in Amarillo that is running out in about 15 years time, but there are vast reserves of Helium rich natural gas in Qatar, Siberia, Algeria, Iran, Poland, Canada, Australia, China and Indonesia. Some new Helium rich natural gas fields are also under development in the US and there will be no shoratage until after all the natural gas has run out.

Regards JB (Airship & Blimp Consultant and Gasbags lighter than air comedy site:

3w dot airship dot me)

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Massive new US spy airship 'could be used to carry big cargoes'

heliumblimp
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Thinking outside the norm.

Hi there,

There is reasearch into Helium compression for ballast control of normal blimps, but although they have got the weight of the compressor and power source within reasonable limits, the bottle is a different story as any kind of metal cylinder is too heavy and the composite cylinders explode in a fire or if they get hit with a high velocity round. No way at present as it would be like flying with a potential bomb.

For a hybrid air vehicle there is no requirement for ballast due to the lifting body allowing very heavy take offs using aerodynamic lift with a short take off run. Vectored thrust is also used to help but most of the gain is pure arodynamic lift and as only 30 kts is the sort of speed required the take off run is very short and any flat surface will do.

Regards JB ( www.hybridairship.net )

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heliumblimp
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High speed hybrid air vehicles.

Anon coward is a glider pilot and he will get a surprise to find the HAV 304 or Skycat are both faster than a glider. Obviously cruising at high speed burns more fuel than station keeping or surveillance or long range flying for a fuel conserving cargo operation, but because you can operate point to point the fixed wing alternative will be spending days trans shipping to rail, ice road or expensive helicopters at either end of the flight. Wind is a factor with any aircraft but I think you will find an HAV does not suffer the same problems at 80 kts cruise a small blimp or zeppelin has at 30kts.

Regards JB ( Gasbags comedy site www.hybridblimp.net )

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heliumblimp
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Skycat point to point cargo.

Hi folks,

The comment from Anonymous coward is partly true if you are talking about general air frieght operations, assuming you don't care about fuel burn costs or upper air pollution. A hybrid air vehicle uses about 20% of the fuel of a similar sized fixed wing transport like the C130 or An12 that could be compared to the lift and range capacity of the Skycat 20. So in the long term there is a case for using HAV's for air frieght of any type BUT in the short term there is a very serious need for an all surface point to point cargo HAV that can fly thousands of miles from an air base or just a clear area of flat land or water (The Skycat uses a hoverskirt not undercart, so any surface good enough to operate a hovercraft on is OK) to another isolated landing site with no infra structure, no fuel just a clear area of a few hundred meters to do a vertical landing if required.

Now tell me what other aircraft can do that kind of point to point operation and I will let the good folks at HAV in Blighty and the US Army and Air Force that they have got the wrong idea. A helicopter has only about a 500 mile range with a limited payload, needs fuel after landing and worst of all burns 10 times the fuel!! The tilt rotors are better but will still need fuel on landing and although faster don't have much more range than a helicopter and worst of all they have fairly limited payload at full fuel. The answer is the hybrid air vehicle and the best design team in the game from Northrop Grumman and Hybrid Air Vehicles from Cranfield in Blighty.

Regards JB ( www.hybridairship.net )

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heliumblimp
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SKYCAT.

Very true, as the military are looking at both the use of the HAV 304 conversion for cargo in a sudden needs situation and at the similar Skycat which is a dedicated civil cargo version for long range point to point cargo, which is greatly needed in Northern Canada and areas of Africa etc.

Regards JB ( www.hybridairship.net )

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heliumblimp
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Ground fire in Afghanistan.

Hi there,

Any aircraft on the ground is vunerable to damage, but the HAV 304 uses Helium and would be very difficult to set fire to, even if it was hit in the gondola as it uses JP 8 fuel which has a flashpoint of 50C.

It will only operate from secure bases away from the front line and do what many aircraft do and spiral climb if the area is hot. You also have to remember that when on station after the delivery flight it is an un manned vehicle and the control and command folks on the ground would like nothing more than to have some cave dwellers to shoot at it, as it gives their exact position away for a swift response, normally from long range artillery or ground to ground missile batteries.

Regards JB ( www.hybridairship.net )

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heliumblimp
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Helium supplies.

Hi there,

If you look at the Helium page of my Gasbags comedy site www.hybridblimp.net there is a lot of info on the global supply situation. There is no need in the long term to have a strategic Helium reserve as large as the current one in Amarill Texas. The biggest Helium refinery in the world will shorly be working at full capacity in Qatar and the US will then be in second place in supply and reserves.There will also be new Helium rich gas fields developed in Australia soon and there are still new souces being found due to the increase in natural gas exploration.

Regards JB ( www.hybridairship.net )

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heliumblimp
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No need to vent Helium.

Hi there,

There is no need for a lifting body hybrid air vehicle to vent Helium. That is the very thing that HAV"s are designed to avoid by doing a very heavy rolling take off when required. Valving off Helium after a long flight is a blimp and Zeppelin problem only.

I like the trash idea as it would keep the Greenies happy, but it would also be good to pay the locals to clean up.

Regards JB ( www.blimpingaround.com )

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heliumblimp
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HAV 304 and Skzcat.

Hi folks,

The HAV 304 that Hybrid Air Vehicles in Blighty are developing for the LEMV contract is designed primarily for medium altitude surveillance, however the military do like multi role vehicles and it can be changed over to a cargo transport fairly easily. If however the primary purpose of the HAV was cargo then a slightly different design called the Skycat will be used. The Skycat is similar to the 304 but will have larger engines and a slightly different hull and hoverskirt arrangement, for roll on roll off and an even larger static weight range as a result.

Regards JB ( www.hybridairship.net )

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heliumblimp
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Hydrogen!!

Only Bin Laden himself thinks the LEMV should use hydrogen!! The last thing we need is a Hindenburg mk 2. It would make the HAV very vunerable to sabotage on the ground, silly accidents by engineers or lightning strikes. Helium is the only approved lifting gas for airships and no one is talking about any changes at present.

Regards JB ( www.blimpingaround.com )

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heliumblimp
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Static weight issues.

Hi there,

It does help to have full function up and down vector for the main engines of a normal blimp like a Skyship has, but for a hybrid air vehicle it does not matter, as they are shaped like a flying wing, albeit a fat one and produce so much lift with a short take off run that they can start so heavy that the finishing up light and having to valve off Helium problem, no longer exists. That is why the US military chose a hybrid design.

Regards JB ( www.blimpingaround.com )

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heliumblimp
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Afghanistan flack.

Hi there,

No real worries about getting shot down as the HAV 304 normally operates at 20,000 ft and Bin Laden and his boys don't have anything better than a Russian heavy machine gun, which is good for about 5000 ft. It would be good if they did try shooting though, because it gives away their position to the targeting folks. Even if they manage to buy and import larger IR homing missiles, they will find they just wasted a bunch of money as the 304 has diesels that won't give a good enough signiture for a lock, even on the ground runs. In reality they will be much harder to shoot down than a helicopter.

Regards JB ( www.hybridairship.net )

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heliumblimp
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Answers to some comments on HAV's.

Hi folks,

Some rather odd comments that need a few answers so here goes:

Firstly the HAV 304 is a hybrid air vehicle, which means it is a cross between a blimp and a flying wing plus a hoverskirt undercart. It does not need wings and a layer of PV panels would not justify their weight or work too well in Afghanistan. The amount of Helium is fixed and it does not need to be changed unless there was a big configuration change such as changing from medium altitude surveillance to low altitude heavy lift. Then the Helium would be topped up to increase payload, otherwise almost no Helium is required after initial inflation. All military aircraft have to use JP8 fuel which is a cross between jet fuel and diesel. Hydrogen could be used in a civil version but the present engines are Centurion 4.0 diesels which are very efficient anyway.

Secondly the 517 million dollars was for 3 HAV's not one and half the cost is for the special surveillance payloads. Initial prototypes are always expensive but a production HAV will cost less than an equivalent aircraft and far less to operate in fuel terms.

Thirdly forget about storing or compressing Helium and other research programs as they are all too heavy to be useful at present. Due to it's high static weight capability an HAV does not need such systems.

Fourthly the ballast question only applies to normal airships not to HAV's as they can take off heavy enough to avoid a light landing. Even if an extreme condition did arise then sandbags can always be loaded into the cargo bay.

Regards JB ( www.hybridairship.net )

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Airship race round the world planned for 2011

heliumblimp

Around the world blimp race.

Hi folks,

The biggest joke is that all you nay sayers about the World Sky Race do not realise this is going to happen starting next year. I know because I hope to be the lead driver.

Regards JB

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