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Can a new airship unlock the Amazon?

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July 11, 2017 – The vast jungle interior of Brazil is a difficult place to reach – there are few roads, and travelling by river is very slow. Could airships be the key to supplying remote Amazonian outposts?

tanding in the middle of what used to be a sugar cane field four miles from the south Brazilian city of São Carlos is a huge arched hangar. Inside the purpose-built structure is an aviation first for Brazil – a new design that could change the way the country develops.

It also happens to be a form of flying machine that has all but disappeared since the 1930s. It is the first manned airship ever built in Brazil. It has already flown in private and is now due to make its first public flight this July. This is part of a £35m ($44.6m) project to make Brazil a centre of the airship industry. The company behind it has even built a new factory ready to manufacture a fleet of airships.

READ MORE: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20170711-can-brazil-bring-the-airship-back-from-the-dead

Why blimps and airships died out – and how they might make a comeback

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February 9, 2015 – Many years ago, long before the era of massive international airports, online ticketing agencies, and pesky pre-boarding security inspections, the airship was going to be the future. Needless to say, that didn’t quite work out. Today’s skies are ruled by jumbo jets, helicopters, and the occasional drone or two. But a recent invention may help these long forgotten flying machines to reclaim their rightful place in aviation history – or at least carve out a niche.

“Airship” is a term for all motorised lighter-than-air craft, including blimps (which have inflatable air compartments) and zeppelins (which have rigid ones). They first came into existence after the development of the internal combustion engine, though a few daring aviators tried to pilot airships powered by steam engines. The first modern airship, the Zeppelin LZ1, took flight in 1900 – three years before the Wright Brothers made their famous flight.

Due to their relative cost effectiveness and longer range, airships were seen as the more attractive form of air travel in the early 20th century. They also played a key role as military aircraft, and were used for bombings in World War I. By the 1930s, luxury airships were whisking well-to-do passengers across the Atlantic Ocean, and were considered a technological marvel. They even had an influence on the urban landscape; it’s rumoured that the spire of the Empire State Building was designed to be converted into an airship dock.

READ MORE: https://www.citymetric.com/transport/why-blimps-and-airships-died-out-and-how-they-might-make-comeback-722

The return of the airship: Once the stuff of history, dirigibles are making a surprise comeback – from Nasa to Bedfordshire

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January 7, 2015 – You would be forgiven for thinking that airships lived on only in steampunk fantasies or celluloid – in films such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. But like other forms of transportation technology that we assumed was moribund only to return from the dead like a horror-movie villain – trams, maglevs, double-decker buses, propeller planes – airships are back.

Only last month, Nasa floated plans for the so-called High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (Havoc). The project envisages a space station in the sky, hovering in the atmosphere above the planet Venus, re-supplied by airships that look like Zeppelins. Artists’ impressions of the idea scream 1915 more than 2015, but perhaps dreamers such as Jules Verne and the real-life airship pioneers were just way ahead of their time?

At Cardington Airfield, on the outskirts of Bedford, the story has come full circle. It was here that Britain built the R101 airship nearly a century ago. The hangars are being repainted bright green and restored to their former glory. They are so vast that they are almost beyond comprehension – some of the biggest buildings in Britain, they could fit whole cathedrals inside them. The airships constructed here were initially wildly successful – they became symbols of modernism, like the hangars which held them, and began a process of rapid globalisation: the Empire State Building’s mast was designed as an airship docking point in Midtown Manhattan. But the R101 crashed in France in 1930, killing 48, and, following the Hindenburg disaster seven years later, when the German airship caught fire and killed 36 people, airships were sidelined. Some returned in later years, mainly as “blimps” designed to hover above cricket or baseball stadiums and film the match.

READ MORE: https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/once-the-stuff-of-history-airships-are-making-a-surprise-return-from-nasa-to-bedfordshire-9963740.html