An Australian company is developing the next generation of airships, that work like blimps with lighter-than-air gases to give it lift. These new airships would be capable of lifting an entire house, or even a entire hospital in emergencies.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald:
Potential uses for a successful commercial model of the SkyLifter include moving aid or even portable hospitals to remote areas - such as rural regions or disaster zones - that have limited or no available infrastructure such as roads, [investor relations partner Sam] Mokhtari said.
The company hopes it will one day also become part of the tourism market, where travellers can fly slowly above landscapes from one destination to another, as they currently do on cruise ships . . . The airship, which will be made using "strong laminated fabric", harnesses aerostatic lift - meaning it is able to fly using lighter-than-air (LTA) gases that keep it buoyant - rather than aerodynamic lift.
Unlike heavier-than-air (HTA) fixed or rotary-wing aircraft such as aircraft and helicopters that use aerodynamics to fly, the SkyLifter would be able to move using propellers attached to a small control pod suspended from a rod below the main saucer-like blimp. Its top speed is expected to be about 45 knots for a maximum travel distance of about 2000 kilometres.
The first prototypes of the SkyLifter are being built right now, and researchers estimate the first of the full-scale models will be available in about seven years.