Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The passenger cab and motors are move-able
  [vote for,

When I was a kid I saw a movie, "The Great Race", nowadays available on DVD, which featured a dirigible-built-for-two. COOL! I'd still like to have one, even today. (Update: finally found an image! Linked!) However, I'm almost certain that the thing in the movie was actually a Hollywood prop, and was very probably too small to actually lift the weight of the two people. Which means that a real one would be far too big to fit in the back yard, from where you might take it to go to work, avoiding traffic jams.

And so I offer to you the Vertigible! Designed to be big enough to be useful, and flexible enough to fit! Well, "flexible" may not be quite the right word there... :)

Start with your ordinary cigar-shaped dirigible. It has that shape for a very good reason: It is fairly aerodynamic while being able to hold a lot of lifting gas. Well, suppose the dirigible body was mounted vertically instead of horizontally? It would be a lot less aerodynamic, of course, but it would have the same lifting ability as before, and would fit in the back yard!

So, you get into the gondola/cab, and take off vertically, exactly like a hot air balloon (this one just happens to be cigar-shaped). Once a couple hundred feet up, above the trees, and not worrying that the wind is blowing you in the wrong direction, you engage a motor that moves the cab along some rails mounted outside the dirigible body. Since a dirigible has a rigid body, this merely causes its orientation to change from the vertical to the horizontal, while the cab moves. After a short time the cab is in the usual position under the center of the length of the dirigible. Now you can turn on the propeller motors and direct your course in the manner of an ordinary airship. For ease of maintence, the cab should hold the engine (perhaps a diesel) and a generator, and the propeller motors should be electric.

Things could be tricky when you reach your destination, except for advance planning in the design of a Vertigible. The propeller nacelles are also moveable on tracks, and gimballed (allowing them to blow air in various directions away from the body of the airship). Computer coordination of the nacelles and their positions/orientations will probably be necessary, when moving the cab back to the pointy-end of the Vertigible. We want the engines to hold position against whatever wind might be blowing, as the airship reorients to the vertical position, and prepares to land. Ideally, of course, the cab is small enough to fit into an ordinary parking space. In the descent process (opposite of when ascending), the gas in the airship is pumped into high-pressure storage tanks. Upon landing some struts extend, like landing gear on an old-fashioned rocket design. If the "skin" of the Vertigible is actually just a bag that fits inside the outer frame (and chicken-wire mesh?), then the entire gas bag can collapse as the last of the gas is pumped into storage tanks. The open cigar-shaped framework now offers little wind resistance (you can shut the engine off now), until you are ready to reinflate the bag and ascend once more.

Vernon, Mar 27 2006

Vertical axis Airships http://www.airship.org/
An interestiing concept [neutrinos_shadow, Mar 27 2006]

Classical Rocket Design http://upload.wikim....jpg/200px-Sc48.jpg
Vertical, cigar-shaped, with landing struts/fins [Vernon, Mar 28 2006, last modified Nov 27 2013]

Dirigible for two https://web.archive...s/items/08-0101.jpg
As mentioned in an update to the main text. [Vernon, Sep 17 2014, last modified Oct 17 2016]


       I'd like one of these
hippo, Mar 27 2006

       This may actually be workable. I like that the same gas used for lift can also be used as ballast once in the tanks.
Shz, Mar 27 2006

       Vertical-axis airships are nothing new (see link), and I've seen a different style in a science magazine, but can't find a link.
But your idea with the shifting axis is excellent. [+]
neutrinos_shadow, Mar 27 2006

       What, only 518 words? I believe your "12864" idea has 11,391 words. You can do better, Vernon.
DesertFox, Mar 27 2006

       I like this. I also like the Zellesegelflug zeugfördermaschine, especially since it's name is so long that part of the last E is hidden by it's croissantage.
DesertFox, Mar 27 2006

       I was expecting a vertical vegetable.
normzone, Mar 27 2006

       A VTOL airship. I like.   

       Where's [hollajam] when you need her?
egbert, Mar 28 2006

       Awesome. [+]   

       Rather than a motorised track and roller system, you could achieve the same effect by synchronously altering the pressure of your fore and aft bladders.
BunsenHoneydew, Jul 28 2006

       I was definitely expecting an asparagus, just like [normzone].
phundug, Jul 28 2006

       You are pulling a lot of fine ideas to the fore in your latest sojurn here, [Bunsen].
bungston, Jul 30 2006


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