Weekend Fun: The Personal Blimp
From the How To Kill Yourself In Three Easy Steps File, comes the Personal Blimp from the good folks at Skyacht Aircraft Inc. This handmade contraption is set to usher back the good old days of leisurely flight with its sophisticated patented frame that keeps the blimp’s structure rigid, but also collapses for easy transport and storage.
The Personal Blimp uses hot air, rather than Helium, for lift and virtually silent electric motors for propulsion. The Personal Blimp is a hot air balloon that can be maneuvered about in nearly perfect quiet. Passengers (or those with an IQ of less than 50) who travel in a Personal Blimp are said to have a serene experience of flight unavailable in any other type of aircraft (thanks to the buckets of Valium that the inventors suggest passengers ingest before boarding).
In contrast to completely non-rigid envelope designs, namely the Goodyear Blimp, the Personal Blimp has a rigid, but folding, skeleton to allow the envelope to retain its shape without requiring internal air pressurization. SkyYacht received a patent (USPTO #6,793,180) for this unique structural design in September of 2004.
The Personal Blimp’s rigid but foldable structure also provides hardpoints at strategic locations for the engine and propeller. With the engine/propeller mounted on the tail, the Personal Blimp can use vectored thrust for steering. This provides far greater maneuverability than any previous hot air airship. Why they didn’t invest some of this forward thinking in the cabin is beyond us. The thing looks like a couple of clothes racks welded together with a few car seats tossed in for a stream-lined look. Thankfully, the control panel looks like it may actually do something.
The first flight of the first Personal Blimp, named the Airship Alberto, took place on October 27, 2006.
More information on the Personal Blimp.