Not to be confused with the Aerocraft that was designed by the Skunk Works in the 1990s (see box, “The Road Not Needed”), the Aeroscraft is promoted by Aeroscraft Corp., which is led by entrepreneur and inventor Igor Pasternak. It is a very large rigid airship for cargo transport that Pasternak proposes to build in two sizes. The ML866 would be 555 feet long and carry 66 tons; while the ML868 would be 770 feet long and carry 250 tons.
A 266-foot-long demonstrator called Dragon Dream was built, inflated and tested on tether last year at Tustin, California, the former Marine Corps and airship base. It is a vertical lift machine that features a unique buoyancy management system, which provides the ability to offload heavy payloads without the need to re-ballast, according to Aeroscraft. Unfortunately, the demonstrator was badly damaged when its hangar roof partially collapsed last October. Aeroscraft is currently trying to raise up to $60 million in a stock offer. –C.P.
SCALING UP THE HYBRID AIR VEHICLE
AIRLANDER 10 AIRLANDER 50
Envelope volume 1,340,000 cu ft 3,640,000 cu ft
Length 302 ft 390 ft
Width 143 ft 196 ft
Height 85 ft 115 ft
Total weight 44,000 lbs 128,000 lbs
Payload up to 22,000 lbs up to 132,300 lbs
Endurance five days manned up to four days manned
Altitude up to 20,000 ft up to 10,000 ft
Cruise speed 80 kt 105 kt
Loiter speed 20 kt 40 kt