According to the Spain-based Turtle Airships, the future of green travel lies with a solar-powered airship that is shaped like a giant turtle. But the Splinter-approved concept is so awesome that it is somewhat hard to believe it will come true.
The Turtle Airship is supposed to fly on a solar-powered panel grid during the day and switch to a bio-diesel at night, take off and land using a vector thrust, and even take on water ballast. This would allow any Turtle airship to be used for humanitarian missions anywhere (even a water-logged area). The ship's creator claims that this will be one of the main ways his ship will be used for when it's ready to go.
But how will it go up? It is supposed to use some helium for the flight, but Turtle Airships intends to 'manufacture and use Ammonia as a lifting gas, and to develop gradual use and acceptance of hydrogen for some applications.'
As Dave Demerjian mentioned in a previous post on Autopia, airships are gaining traction in the transportation arena because the old airship stigmas are being seriously challenged. For example, new designs have an aerodynamic advantage over their old versions, and some of the material being talked about is even stronger than steel. In addition, helium pressure is now sufficiently low that any leak in a ship would take many hours to affect a flight.
We'd love to say that the turtle airship is a slam-dunk and that you'll be having a cocktail with your archeologist dad in the middle of a flight in a few years. But there are some problems with this thing.
In fact, there are more red flags coming from this concept than from a schizophrenic football referee at a Raider game.
What flags, you say? First, the company claims the Turtle ship can cruise at speeds comparable to a few airplanes. As Demerjian noted, most current modern airships and those in development don't claim to go more than 100 MPH. Also, the company's website is barely there, the very few images of the prototype aren't too impressive (the one to the right looks like bad papier-mâché), and the enthusiasm shown in the company blog is more fanboy style than quietly confident professional.
So this idea is a true wait-and-see, but someone should definitely come up with the real thing.
Click to view image: '199305-sideturtle.jpg'
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