Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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River Balloon

Best of both worlds helium zepplin
  [vote for,

One of the simplest explainations I can give is calling it a river balloon. Essentially, it combines the dependability of the flow of a river and a helium zepplin. The buoyant object in the river teathers the zepplin to the ground while going at a steady pace. This gives dependability to the zepplin because it can depend on a river for power and direction. This would save on energy because the flight wouldn't be completely powered by fossil fuels.

A few things, suuuure, we could all take a boat but I love flying more, and I'm sure some would agree that a leasurely flight 500ft up could be desirable.

I said not completely powered, thin solar cells could provide the power needed to give stability engines and powered emergency landings to the zepplin and also a motor to keep the buoyant weight on course, plus I expect the buoyant weight to reel the zepplin towards the ground when docking. All in all think of the fuel one could save. Also think of all the tork provided by the buoy that's not being lifted. That can equate to more room, comfy chairs and tables, more people (or in the case of most cruises, more food.)

Ok, yes this river wouldn't be able to have bridges, which will narrow it down quite a bit, but if you chuck out the word river and replace it with, say, gulf stream, you will see where this becomes more feasable. Especially since this bouyant weight (boweight) could be positioned just below the water to be smack in the middle of any stream of water and then shaped to maximize its use. Plus now only the bowait needs to fit in the confines of, say, the Panama Canal. That's it, I'm going to bed.

sartep, Apr 22 2003


       So it's an almost lighter than air boat? And there would be rivers big enough to accomodate it but without river traffic and bridges to bump into?   

       I had been thinking about lighter than air sails. These would be like a kite sail, but balloon shaped. But that misses the main point of sails - being able to sail upwind. as your wing shaped wing cuts into the wind allowing you to tack upwind.   

       Hence, my idea, like yours, is doomed to dreamy unreality.
FloridaManatee, Apr 22 2003

       Impractical for rivers due to bridges, powerlines, etc.   

       However, if you adapt it for the open ocean, the idea becomes far more flexible. Cruise ships could use large tethered balloons as the ultimate first class section. Small yachts could use them as a modern-day crow's nest, from which an observer could watch for pirates. And you could hang billboards off of them, and use small boats to tow them up and down the beach front.
Guncrazy, Apr 22 2003

       I agree, as I said before I was considering rivers with few bridges like the Yanzee or the Nile. Also I agree that it could be buoyant enough to go under the water far enough to be in the currents of an ocean and then take a shape to maximize the energy from it.   

       As for other traffic, since all it needs is sufficient weight and a teather and it doesnt have to be on the surface of the water it could potentialy have the smallest footprint of any boat. OOO, I never considered it like a first class boat thing but yes that works too.   

       Also on a smaller scale I wanted it as a safer way to navigate white water rapids for 2 people since you can add as much slack or as little as you want and not worry about unexpected falls. Im sure it would be just as fun if you were going 20 knots at 10ft up.   

       In anycase, after one is done with the journey, the helium can be pumped back into canisters, the balloon can be broken down and even the bowait can be driven to another location. Well at the very least with the smaller balloons and cabins.
sartep, Apr 22 2003

       Croissant, for "tork". Yah Anglicization!
bungston, Apr 22 2003

       The first Mississippi River thunderstorm would wreck the balloon.
Mogo, Aug 22 2003

       //Impractical for rivers due to bridges, powerlines, etc.//   

       In certain remote areas, there are few enough of these that this idea might be useful. It's hard to follow the river with a bush plane. This might be a fairly inexpensive solution, and would certainly wow the natives.
ye_river_xiv, Dec 15 2008


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