[ Skyacht Aircraft Inc. ] Amherst, Mass., U.S.A.
The creators of the Personal Blimp set out to build a vehicle that combines the enjoyment and quiet relaxation of a hot air balloon ride with the control of other types of aircraft. The Personal Blimp hull structure has three main components: the fabric envelope of 1.9 oz. urethane-coated calendered rip-stop nylon; a set of flexible ribs embedded within the fabric; and a tensioning line that runs along the central axis of the hull. The hull is a classic tension structure wherein the ribs are under compression and the fabric and tensioning line are under opposing tension. What is new and different about the Personal Blimp hull design is the ease with which one can create a lightweight, sturdy, self-supporting (no fans required) airship envelope. With a cruise speed of 10 miles an hour, the Personal Blimp uses hot air rather than helium. Because of its precise steering and ability to hover, potential applications (in addition to joyrides!) include forest canopy research, wetlands survey/management, eco-tourism, aerial photography and film making.