This summer, piloted by Captain Allan Judd, Bullet 580 will usher in the return of inflatable giant airships. The 235 ft long and 65ft diameter ship is covered with a type of Kevlar, a material 10 times-stronger than steel but only one sixteenth of an inch thick. An E-green design special costing £5.5million, this giant runs on algae – latest bio-fuel that can be developed from brackish and waste water.
With seven-bag helium providing the lift, maximum speed of 80 mph, Bullet 580 cruises at 35 mph and is capable of carrying loads of 2,000lbs up to 20,000ft in the air. It can take-off vertically up and land vertically as well. The unique feature is that this airship can hover over an area for up to 7 days continuously – which gives it an edge as an aerial watch dog.
Mike Lawson, Chief Executive of E-Green Technologies, test-inflated this airship at Garret Coliseum in Alabama, and is confident that airships will have a great future. He hopes to utilize these airships for uses as diverse as sightseeing, carrying heavy loads, as near-space satellite for broadcasting communications, weather watch, and geophysical surveying and monitoring any untoward events like oil spills etc.
Emphasizing the differences between the traditional blimps/Zeppelins, Mr. Lawson spoke of the benefits of the bio-fuel, algae and the special water condensate recovery system for fuel economy and the simple construction combined with futuristic technology.
E-Green Technologies after merging with 21st Century Airships has already built 14 model planes and flown them and plans are on the anvil to build a fleet of airships that can fetch £200,000 and £550,000 as rent. These can be managed with a crew or flown remotely. Bullet 580 is the first commercial plane to be launched.
Very soon, sightseeing from on-board the Bullet 580 may be the in thing for future foot-loose and fancy-free travelers!