THE AIRSHIP: MORE THAN JUST A TEST BALLOON
Market research has shown that there could be a considerable market for airships in the 21st century. The potential market for large airships capable of performing a variety of sometimes unique functions is estimated at more than 1,000 vessels worldwide. Rigid Airship Design N.V. believes it can serve a substantial proportion of this market.
Starting with straight-forward maths and physics, we can determine that one cubic meter of helium lifts 1 kg of mass. The total lift is therefore a function of volume. Double the dimensions of an airship and the volume increases by a factor of 8, but costs by only a factor of 4. This means, critically, that the larger the airship, the better lift / cost ratio and the better the return on your investment.
THE RIGID AIRSHIP: SAFE, RELIABLE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY
Rigid Airship Design N.V. plans to have the first prototype ready for test flights by the end of 2001. The only similarity between this ‘Rigid’ airship, the RA-180, and the old Zeppelins is its outward appearance. The material systems are quite different. Wherever possible RAD sticks to the known and proven principles established by earlier operators. They are highly advanced and will make the RA-180 strong, reliable and above all extremely safe. Rigid Airship Design will use world-class design, engineering and construction companies within the consortium.
MINIMISATION OF OPERATIONAL RISK
In combination with the RLD (the Dutch flight certification authorities), RAD are developing standards of safety on a par with any aircraft.
No Zeppelin ever failed in flight through structural failure. Accidents resulted either from hydrogen (which has now been replaced by non-inflammable helium) or from limited understanding of the forces involved (now known to all approved designers!) or from poor understanding of the weather, a problem overcome by modern avionics.
RAD has an extraordinary breadth of airship experience, knowledge and technical excellence. This will be reflected not only in the construction but also in operations.