Overview

An airship or dirigible is a type of aerostat or “lighter-than-air aircraft” that can be steered and propelled through the air using rudders and propellers or other thrust mechanisms. Unlike aerodynamic aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, which produce lift by moving a wing through the air, aerostatic aircraft, and unlike hot air balloons, stay aloft by filling a large cavity with a lifting gas.

The main types of airship are non rigid (blimps), semi-rigid and rigid. Non rigid airships use a pressure level in excess of the surrounding air pressure to retain their shape during flight. Unlike the rigid design, the non-rigid airship’s gas envelope has no compartmentalisation. At sea level, the ballonets (internal flexible cells) are filled with air. As altitude is increased, the lifting gas expands and air from the ballonets is expelled through air valves to maintain the same hull shape. To return to sea level, the process is reversed. Air is forced back into the ballonets using auxiliary blowers. Lindstrand Technologies Ltd produce non-rigid thermal, helium manned and helium unmanned airships.

Airships are excellent surveillance vehicles and are very useful in scientific research and advertising. Airships are normally built to a specific end use and since the design and manufacture is conducted in-house, airships of almost any size can be built to the client’s exact requirements. Airships can be flown either by remote control or via a pre-programmed flight path.

Components

Major components of the HiFlyer are the envelope, the net, the gondola and the winch.

The HiFlyer envelope has a volume of 6,200 cubic metres. The envelope is manufactured from a material which has exceptionally low helium permeation with a typical life of at least 6 years. The envelope is illuminated at night by three bulbs located inside the envelope which means that any advertising on the balloon is visible 24 hours a day.

The HiFlyer gondola is manufactured from aircraft quality stainless steel and has an indefinite life. It is shaped octagonal with a lift cable in the middle so that it remains horizontal at all times.

The HiFlyer winch weighs approximately 10 tonnes. It requires minimum maintenance and has an indefinite life.

The HiFlyer has a 200 metre long tether cable and normally flies to 120 metres which is the optimum flight height. The cable is wrapped onto a large drum, and due to its single layer design, has a very long life.

The installation of the HiFlyer requires an 10 metre diameter landing platform. There is an inner mooring circle at a diameter of 22 metres and an outer mooring circle of 50 metre diameter. The landing platform must be exclusive to the HiFlyer but the general public can access any of the area outside of the mooring platform. Installation and crew training is provided by Lindstrand personnel.

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