A new type of vehicle--part plane, part blimp--will soon take to the skies. The United States military as well as private companies are building hybrid airships that fly using both lift from their aerodynamic shapes and the buoyancy of lighter-than-air helium filling their hulls.
One hybrid in the works is a football-field-size military airship called the LEMV, which is slated to fly surveillance missions over Afghanistan by 2012. Another, World SkyCat's SkyLiner, is being designed to carry civilians to remote destinations. The ship can take off and land anywhere, on water or land.
Most hybrid air vehicles, though, will be used to carry heavy cargo into hard-to-reach areas. "When kids today enter their working lives, these vehicles will be filling the skies," predicts Michael Stewart of World SkyCat, located in the United Kingdom.
AIRSHIP SIZE COMPARISON
This graph shows the length of aircraft relative to the height of well-known structures. The SkyCat-1000 is as long as the Eiffel Tower is tall. How long is that in meters?
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|Title Annotation:||PHYSICS: FLIGHT|
|Author:||Walters, Jennifer Marino|
|Article Type:||Brief article|
|Date:||May 9, 2011|
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