10 November 2006
Airship over London
Brian Micklethwait

Yes, yesterday afternoon, an airship flew over London, and many other British landmarks.

It has very good fuel economy, apparently:

The Spirit of Dubai is the world’s largest commercial airship and is managed by Airship Management Services, Inc (AMS). The Spirit of Dubai will operate at around 1,500 to 3,000 feet with a cruising speed of around 30 to 50 mph - the airship can reach speeds of up to 70 mph (or faster, with a tailwind!). While cruising at 30 knots The Spirit of Dubai airship consumes 8 gallons (48 lbs) of fuel per hour. During a week of operations The Spirit of Dubai will consume less fuel than a 767 uses to simply move away from its gate to a runway!

It was only when I read this posting today that I was reminded that I had also photoed this beast.

  1. I was trying to find out its passenger/cargo capacity, but its curiously missing from any press releases (it appears most news articles are basically just quoting press releases).  From pictures, it looks like it might carry up to a dozen people.  If you assume a dozen people, then it’s fuel efficiency is around 0.02 gallons/nautical mile/person.  http://www.bootsnall.com/guides/05-09/fuel-flying-cross-usa.html says a Boeing 767 consumes about 7000 gallons for a New York to San Francisco trip, with 200 passengers that’s about 0.014 gallons/mile/person. (converting to nautical miles => 0.016 gallons/nautical mile/person).  So fuel efficiency as a person transport is in the same neighborhood as a Boeing 767, unless my guess of a dozen passengers is off by a significant factor.

    Posted by Sam on  13 November 2006 at 10:32 am

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