Always on the verge of a seeming comeback, airships are back in the spotlight, touting new technologies. The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency recently announced funding for an innovative, ballast-free airship technology created by Aeros Aeronautical Systems, based outside Los Angeles. The Aeroscraft ML866's potentially revolutionary Control of Static Heaviness system compresses and decompresses helium in the 210-ft.-long envelope, changing this proposed sky yacht's buoyancy during takeoff and landings, Aeros says.
It hopes to end the program with a test flight demonstrating the system. Other companies are planning their own first flights within the next few years. Each has a design that it promises will launch a new era of lighter-than-air transportation.
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