Airships are a wonderful and elegant, and Google’s co-founder is looking to build what could be the largest of its kind in the world, according to a report in The Guardian. I say they’re due for a comeback.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin is personally financing the construction of the high-tech airship for food and humanitarian missions, The Guardian reports. The massive aircraft is being constructed in a hangar on NASA airfield “far from the eyes of the public,” the report, from journalist Mark Harris, says.
One of Harris’ sources said it’ll likely be about 650 feet long, the largest in the world today, but still a tad smaller than the Hindenburg Zeppelins or the USS Macon.
But although a traditional airship does not need a runway, it does have a problem with buoyancy. If an airship off-loads a heavy cargo, it needs to load up with a similar weight in ballast to avoid shooting skywards. Brin’s airship will use a system of internal gas bladders to control its buoyancy, allowing it to off-load almost anywhere in the world, according to multiple sources.
Brin has been fascinated by airships for years. Google has long flown its corporate jets out of the Nasa Ames airfield, home to the USS Macon’s iconic hangars. Alex Hall, who operated a business called Airship Ventures offering tourist rides in a modern 75-meter-long Zeppelin from Ames, remembers Brin’s enthusiasm for lighter-than-air travel.