Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Return of the Zeppelin?

Why Fly When You Can Float? - "PARIS — Imagine gliding in a floating hotel over the Serengeti, gazing down at herds of zebra or elephants; or floating over Paris as the sun sets and lights blink on across the city as you pass the Eiffel Tower.

Such flights of fancy may one day be possible, if the dream of Jean-Marie Massaud, a French architect, comes true.

As the cost of fuel soars and the pressure mounts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, several schemes for a new generation of airship are being considered by governments and private companies. “It’s a romantic project,” said Mr. Massaud, 45, sitting amid furniture designs in his Paris studio, “but then look at Jules Verne.”"


Anonymous said...

I'd love to see this become a reality. I hate going on the airlines, and I imagine riding on a Zepplin being a more gentle experience. I may be wrong about that though.

Brent McKee said...

Zeppelin does exactly this sort of thing in private charters using their NT class semi-rigid airships. They don't have huge capacity - about a dozen passengers at a time - but they do exactly the sort of thing that this guy is proposing.

The technology does exist - carbon fiber instead of aluminum, and probably better engines - but to expect the sort of long cruises and luxury that was delivered by the old trans-Atlantic airships is probably not economical. Then again that's what they said about new cruise liners.