Big problems call for big responses, and while armchair pundits and denizens of the blogosphere pick apart the government response to the BP oil spill, the Navy is bringing out the big guns to help with the containment effort. The Navy's massive MZ-3A Airship is expected to arrive in the Gulf sometime today (or perhaps a bit later -- airships travel slowly and are subject to the whims of the weather) to support and coordinate skimming efforts and keep an eye out for injured animals along the coastline.
The airship -- the first to enter the Gulf cleanup effort -- began making its way toward the spill site from Yuma, Ariz., last month and will operate form a mooring near Mobile Bay, Ala. A handful of sensors are being considered for use aboard the airship, including the electro-optical, infrared and radar sensors already used on some support aircraft.
But the real advantage of having an airship on hand is its low operating speed. The MZ-3A can stay aloft continuously for 12 hours while monitoring a large swath of territory at low speed, greatly enhancing the capacity for raw visual observation and helping crews to coordinate skimming, burning, and dispersing efforts below. The airship is also far more economical to use over extended periods than the helicopters and airplanes currently assisting in the cleanup effort.
Crews will also report on the location of any affected wildlife they observe, relaying locations to Incident Commands that will dispatch crews to find and clean up oil-tainted fauna along the shoreline.
Its about time we find a use for Zeps. Ever since I played Crimson Skies on my P.C., I have always longed to see and maybe one day be on a large blimp.
They should create a fleet of them, attach some of those flexible solar panels the he top and sides combined with a light engine to make some sort of hybrid Blimp that can float around for long periods of time and survey stuff.
12 hours may seem long, but when it has to be used mostly just getting to and from places such as the BP spill, it doesn't leave much in the way of actual time on location.
Maybe once they perfect and make efficient light weight solar cells that are flexible, they can slap some into the building materials along with a small gas engine and come up with a sort of super blimp.
I guess since weight is a major factor, having batteries would weigh alot, so maybe not. Hurry up technology lol :D
i'm all for airships, but why do they usually look like giant condoms.(airships are subject to whims of weather),not surprising they're effected so much by weather, when so un'aerodynamic; have people building airships never heard of the wing concept, they say it's quite aerodynamic;
have heard that vertical airships aren't subject to whim of weather as much;
have heard of another concept, that actually uses wind conditions, for maneuverability & speed, i think they call them yachts.
so enough of the early 1900's airships, after all this is supposed to be 21st century
This puts the most helium behind the smallest drag profile possible, and with the least weight to the frame because of the low surface area and lack of complicated jointing areas, meaning the overall size can be smaller. That's really all there is to it. It makes a lot of practical sense.
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