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Old 05-12-2018, 03:29 PM   #31
Phoenix_Dragon
 
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Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
Even in the 1930s an airship wasn't cheaper then a train; it required a large crew in both the ship and on the ground for operation. Then there was the special mooring mast and hanger. Finally the cargo capacity was minuscule compared to a train.
To emphasize this, a particularly massive modern heavy-lift airship might be able to lift as much as one to two train cars worth of cargo (Though few make it to even one), which ranges from less than to slight more than a modern heavy-lift cargo plane. Airships are super-low throughput, which eliminates them from the bulk-transport market. That leaves express delivery, a niche that cargo planes already fill far better.
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Old 05-12-2018, 03:44 PM   #32
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Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

So there needs to be a niche that airships can fill. What would that niche be?
- Not cost effective to build a runway.
- Roads, sea and rail have to be removed as options

Maybe harvesting a resource from a canopy or operating near the arctic circle? Skimming something off the surface of the ocean without disturbing the surface?
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Old 05-12-2018, 04:30 PM   #33
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Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

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So there needs to be a niche that airships can fill. What would that niche be?
Basically, as it stands, an airship cannot really compete with a train, or an airplane, or a ship. If one of those does the job, it will almost certainly do it better. But they can, in effect, function like a large, slow helicopter. Most of the serious work in large airships seems to be aimed at delivery of material too big for local infrastructure (e.g. large prefabricated elements to remote construction sites).
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Old 05-12-2018, 04:56 PM   #34
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Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

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Most of the serious work in large airships seems to be aimed at delivery of material too big for local infrastructure (e.g. large prefabricated elements to remote construction sites).
with a large element of "We want to build an airship, what's an application that we might get investors for?" The number of failed projects makes that pretty clear.
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Old 05-12-2018, 06:25 PM   #35
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Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

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So there needs to be a niche that airships can fill. What would that niche be?
Historically it's been long duration sea patrol.

Unfortunately that's been better filled by blimps than large rigid airships.
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Old 05-13-2018, 05:07 AM   #36
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Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

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Basically, as it stands, an airship cannot really compete with a train, or an airplane, or a ship. If one of those does the job, it will almost certainly do it better.
For example, the former USA of Crimson Skies is balkanised and in a cold war, so rail lines are cut because they're too easy to invade along; ships can't do much within the continent; and large aeroplanes don't exist because hey look over there it's Goering.
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Old 05-13-2018, 09:02 AM   #37
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Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

I haven't worked out whether it actually makes sense, but I've sometimes wondered if fossil fuels were much scarcer and development of solar PV was earlier, would airships coated with thin-film PV would work as an explanation dirigibles being widely adopted. They would have more surface area than planes, and a lower power requirement to stay in the air.
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Old 05-13-2018, 09:10 AM   #38
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Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

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For example, the former USA of Crimson Skies is balkanised and in a cold war, so rail lines are cut because they're too easy to invade along; ships can't do much within the continent; and large aeroplanes don't exist because hey look over there it's Goering.
I think they even divided the boroughs of New York City into separate countries.
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Old 05-13-2018, 10:18 AM   #39
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

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I haven't worked out whether it actually makes sense, but I've sometimes wondered if fossil fuels were much scarcer and development of solar PV was earlier, would airships coated with thin-film PV would work as an explanation dirigibles being widely adopted. They would have more surface area than planes, and a lower power requirement to stay in the air.
The problem is that we already have solar-powered planes (drones mostly but sometimes fairly large ones) and they work pretty well even without the virtually weightless solar cells you'd need fpr dirigible skins.
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Old 05-13-2018, 11:42 AM   #40
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For the rest of the peacetime dirigible accidents it was weather breaking the superstructure rather than fire.
This is one of the few issues with LTA you actually have some hope of addressing in a realistic setting. Better weather forecasting telling you where not to try to fly doesn't necessarily require superscience.
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