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Solar Powered Carrier Airship With Runway!

PostedCOLON Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:25 am
by Thom
As you may have figured out by now, I am bored today and cruising MM for neat things. It has been hard to edit my impulses to post every cool thing I see, but some of these ideas simply MUST BE released on my fellow forum dwellers!

Such is the case with this beauty, a "Solar Powered" airship from Modern Mechanix of Oct 1934.

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Modern Mechanix, Oct 1934 wroteColonSUN’S RAYS TO DRIVE Aerial Landing Field

RECENT experiments in the conversion of the sun’s rays into electric power have led to an unusual idea in aerial equipment. It is a dirigible that not only would get its power from the sun but also provide space for a landing field in the air.

The ordinary cigar-shaped dirigible would in effect have a slice taken from the upper half of the gas bag. This would provide a large deck on which could be mounted solar photo cells, an airplane runway, and a hangar. Planes could land on the dirigible, floating over the sea, to refuel for trans-ocean passenger service.

Another unusual feature of this design, in addition to the landing field, is the use of sun rays to power the motors of the dirigible. Scientists estimate that the sun can develop as much as 86,300 kilowatts or 115,000 horsepower per hour in an area of a square mile. Photo cells convert the sun’s energy into electricity. When this can be done on a practical basis, the roof of an ordinary house can be used to develop electricity for the home.


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I love the roof mounted runway cause that just seems like the right way to do it rather than using hooks to launch and recover from underneath. The idea of adding solar electric technology to Crimson Skies has a strong appeal to me as it would help to greatly enhance the pulp feel of the genre. The idea of covering the upper exterior of an airship with solar cells seems perfectly natural. Fuel could be saved for emergency power for back generators or night operation when the batteries get low. I like it!

Re: Solar Powered Carrier Airship With Runway!

PostedCOLON Mon May 13, 2013 7:34 pm
by Jerba
I missed this before, this is really awesome. I agree that it seems better to do a flat landing than to do hooks. Perhaps wind and hard landings were too much to overcome on something like this.

Re: Solar Powered Carrier Airship With Runway!

PostedCOLON Tue May 14, 2013 3:05 am
by Thom
I am absolutely in love with this concept. Picture a double bag (Two airship envelopes), set up side by side, with a topside runway mounted on a rigid external framework between and around them, Solar panels on the roofs of both bags and down the two exposed outer sides. Batteries are, by their nature, very heavy, so that is why we need the double bags to carry them, they will have to be slung low between and below the two bags like a heavy ships keel to help keep everything stable and counter the weight of the landing strip on top. The cabins will be in the interior of the bags while the hangers will be in the framework structure between the bags. Diesel electric generators power electrical motors and ships systems with the solar panels giving supplemental power. At lower cruising speeds in good bright sunshine, an airship of this nature just might even be able to operate indefinitely on solar power alone, producing enough power to power the motors and charge the batteries for night operation. . .

Pulpy enough to be perfect! I realize that 1930's era solar cells are going to leave a lot to be desired, so the name of the game will have to be massive overkill, thus the need to cover nearly every exposed available surface with solar cells. It's going to be heavy, but probably not impossibly so. It might even maneuver like a sloth, but it should be very stable and given decent weather, and it should be able to cruise for a very very long time using minimal resources.

Perfect for a pulpy mad scientist wannabe warlord!

Heh heh heh and it would have to have heat/death rays! http://www.montanaraiders.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1482