November 29, 2018

Plimps

Timothy Birdnow

I used to wonder about combining an airship with a plane or heliocopter to make a light craft. I wondered if you could have a vessel that would allow you to fly low and slow and perhaps use it to commute, or at least fly to my cabin in the Ozarks. It was just mental doodling. But someone has actually worked it out.

The call it a Plimp.

From the article:

"The idea came to Egan in childhood, as he was playing with helium balloons and balsa-wood gliders. He noticed that these wooden gliders had a slower descent when he tied helium balloons to the planes' wings and tails. "I became convinced there could be another form of aircraft if only you could put wings on a partial-lift balloon," Egan told Live Science."

[...]

"The helium in the blimp part of the plimp-hybrid aircraft is key, Egan said. "That decreases your unpowered descent rate to that of a parachutist," he said. "You start with a design safety feature that no other aircraft has, which places you safely back on the ground if, for some reason, the engines fail."

The plimp-hybrid airship is actually faster and safer than a blimp, which has to offgas during unpowered descent, Egan said. The newly designed airships are also different than the Hindenburg — the airship that met a fiery end when its lighter-than-air hydrogen gas leaked and mixed with oxygen, making a flammable mixture that quickly ignited. (In contrast, the plimp aircraft uses helium, which isn't flammable.)"

End excerpt.

I'd love to have one of those!

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 01:07 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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