California aviation firm, Aeros, has been working for years on breakthrough technology for a new airship. Now the revolutionary prototype -- which looks like a giant blimp -- is ready for its first test flight.
It may look like something out of a SciFi movie but the 250 foot prototype is only half the size of the final craft. According to the Daily Mail, the finished version is expected to carry 66 tons of cargo, three times as much as any military cargo plane, and use only 1/3 of the fuel.
Previously, airships have been limited because of the difficulty managing ballast while they were unloaded. The Aeroscraft ship is able to control the buoyancy in their new craft by compressing helium, making the craft heavier for unloading and lighter for flight. The ships vertical takeoff means it doesn't even require a runway or landing strip.
'The advantage is you don’t need ground infrastructure. You can fly anywhere, you can land anywhere, you don’t need any ballast, you don’t need any ground crew.' Explained Igor Pasternak, Aeros's founder and CEO.
This ability means the craft is ideal for delivering supplies to areas not equipped with standard landing facilities. It could be a much needed tool for battlefields and disaster relief efforts. The breakthrough research was made possible with funding by the Pentagon and NASA, who contributed a sum of $36 million to the project.
Dubbed the 'Dream Machine' the finished Aeroscraft is expected to be completed in three years. It will reach a speed of 120 knots and cover over 3000 nautical miles.