The Second Coming of the Airship

#Travel

Sat, Aug 7th, 2010 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Telegraph reports on the possible come-back of airships, the lighter-than-air aircrafts that 70 years ago were meant to sail noiselessly across the Atlantic like aeronautical cruise ships.

A group of British engineers from Hybrid Air Vehicles has built a scale prototype of what will soon be the largest flying vessel in the world -- a huge balloon made of ultra-lightweight, super-strong polyester on top of a hovercraft landing system. If it works, it could change the future of flight. The prototype will be a 300ft-long surveillance vehicle capable of staying airborne for 21 days at a time for the US Department of Defence.

"It's not an 'airship'," says, the company's marketing man Gordon Taylor. "It's a 'hybrid air vehicle'."

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"Almost every flight today takes longer than it did back in the 60s."