Blimps are making a comeback

Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 04:34 PM.

Let us mention the gas also makes grown men talk like one of the Chipmunks. Sometimes Mother Nature definitely shows a twisted sense of humor.

So what brought me to this particular subject was recent news about high-tech airships now being developed in California, not all that far from where we lived. Applying new space-age materials, composites along with propulsion and aerodynamic efficiencies lead some entrepreneurs to believe they can move cargo cost effectively.

This commercial adaptation of LTA ships has been tried before with limited successes. (There was a time when plans for LTA ships were being made for Craven County.) Of course, we’re all familiar with the Goodyear blimp and its messaging during ball games.

This time around developers are focusing on prodigious tonnage they intend to move around the planet. I’m skeptical that even with astronomical lifting capabilities, dodging weather and moving at bicycle speeds might be a crippling economic albatross around their bulging necks.

Whatever happens, it’ll be interesting to watch. Lately we humans have been expanding travel imaginations from both ends. Spanning the spectrum from lumbering behemoths to private-enterprise space vehicles, there’s amazing new stuff in the pipeline.

For the present I’m looking forward to seeing how these new LTA ships work out. I’ve seen pictures of one ship under construction and it appears quite sleek. But, of course, there’s a limit to just how sleek any air bag can be.

At the official unveiling I imagine Elton John singing "The Blimp Is Back!" That seems appropriate.

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