When it comes to technology, people are not inclined to return to the past. Yet, some expectations do exist. Such is the attitude at present towards dirigibles. Having abandoned the skies more than 40 years ago, they have suddenly begun to reappear. Designers have once again sat down to design this kind of transportation. Their use can still be limited, but there is no doubt, that dirigibles are coming back.
Why is dirigible attractive? What do you do with it? As its cruising speed is about 60 miles per hour it is too slow to be used as a passenger carrier. But it is cheaper to operate than a helicopter, comfortable and capable of flying for several days. The craft’s large size and staying power (dirigibles have reminded in skies for as long as a week) make it ideally suited for exploration.
Their use in countries that have large territories and are rich in forests and are planning to explore and exploit new regions is most promising. They may be used to make geological survey and to make maps, to look for off-shore oil and minerals, to take tourists to roadless, but beautiful places, to deliver heavy loads to remote regions and bring the products back. They have a potential use as a flying platform. In general, their possibilities are endless. They do not need expensive runways required by cargo planes.
Besides, the technological possibilities of manufacturing these crafts have changed. In 1920 and 1930’s the dirigibles were manned by a big crew. Today being equipped with electronic control they can be operated by three pilots.
The modern dirigibles have one more important advantage aver older models – that of complete safety in flight, for, instead of hydrogen, they are filled with helium which does not burn. The craft is 200 feet long and is made of superstrong material.
In future it may be possible to build a dirigible with a metal hull that could carry hundreds of passengers and transport cargo around the world. In fact, it is probably as a cargo vehicle that the dirigible will have the best chance to find its use.
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