May 24, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
Photo by George Schellenger
Watch for a really big airship to fly somewhere in the Montgomery, Ala., area later this year. At 235 feet, builder E-Green Technologies claims it is, or will be, the largest in the world.
The airship can carry payloads of 2,000 pounds up to 20,000 feet at dash speeds of 80 mph. The Bullet 580 looks like, well, a bullet. The craft completed a successful inflation recently inside a domed stadium in the Montgomery area.
Conceptual drawing by Wade Buffington
Payloads are carried inside the outer envelope, which is one-sixteenth of an inch thick but 10 times stronger than steel. It is made of Kevlar. It is touted for a number of surveillance and communications uses, and can remain on station for hours at a time. The first mission is for NASA and Old Dominion University and consists of equipment to measure the moisture content of soil.
Though unrivaled in its capacity for scooping and dumping water on wildfires--nearly 30 tons of water can be released in a single drop, enough to make the ground shake nearby--work for the Martin Mars has dried up amid competition from newer aircraft.
Helicopter training is generally very safe. So why do run-on takeoffs and landings feel so wrong?
If you are going to learn to fly a helicopter you first have to learn how to control it.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.