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The idea is to have a giant semi-rigid inflatable (He) flying wing the main spar would be a series of bays for containers constructed from light weight materials - aluminium, sandwiched composites, etc. The containers would provide the structural strength of the wing spar.
Okay so with an airfoil
thickness of 9.5 feet the wing will be massive, however most main airports have twin runways that aren't used at night due to the excessive noise of jet engines, with a suitable choice of power the idea would be to use the spare night-time capacity of airports for cargo transportation.
Inflatable Flying Wing (Stingray)
Grrrrrr, stupid website navigation, grrr. Go to "Projects", then "Air", then "Stingray". [jutta, Feb 26 2008]
||What ones with a 9.5 foot airfoil thickness, containers for a main spar and a wing span that covers 2 runways made from inflated plastic and carbon fibre?
||I would agree this is new-ish. But not
many airports will be adaptable, and the
spacing of parallel runways is by no
means standard. Where you gonna
hangar this behemoth? I think the semi-
rigid aspect will force you to keep
cruising speed pretty low, but there
may be some cargo markets that fit the
profile. Some cargo types can't fill a
plane because they max out the takeoff
limit weight. That might be your
opportunity, but I imagine a more
conventional dirigible would fill the
||You could deflate it to hangar it, the spacing of the runways has built-in flexibility (the width of the runways) and the low cruising speed will still be higher than for shiped cargo. An advantage of the flying wing over a zeppelin is it's controlability (have you ever seen them trying to land a zeppelin?) it's lack of need for a new infrastructure/space to moor it and it's exposure to extreme weather when moored.
||I thought that a hybrid might have some advantages over a conventional zeppelin design.
||I've seen this concept before - a big, aerofoil-shaped airship is in development at the moment. Can't remember the name though, so could only find the CargoLifter project, which is a conventional design.