The Real Lead Zeppelins


9 Responses to “The Real Lead Zeppelins”

  1. Daemon says:

    The Great and Powerful Turtle!

  2. Irv Arons says:

    Thank you for linking to my ADL Chronicles and my posting on the Arthur D. Little silk purse made from sows ears and our lead balloon flyoff.

    I was a member of one of the teams that constructed and flew the three lead balloons in May of 1977.

    For the complete story, see my blog, ADL Chronicles:


    Irv Arons

  3. Ultan says:

    For some reason this reminds me of the steam dirigible idea, not a steampunk fantasy but rather a serious proposal to use steam as the lifting gas. This lets you turn ballast into lift gas using the waste heat of a steam engine, that is, using the envelope of the airship as the condenser of the engine, thus eliminating by far the heaviest part of the steam engine, making it light enough for aeronautical use.

    Steam gives about 60% of the lift per volume of Helium and twice the lift of hot air. (100C steam in STP air = 6.26 N/m^3) The envelope can be insulated to retain heat seven times longer than a bare envelope (200g vs. 1400g condensate per m^2 per hour) at a modest weight penalty of 200g /m^2 (a bit more than the bare envelope + condensation weight of 185g/m^2).

  4. InsertFingerHere says:

    “gambol about the Earth’s surface with great danger to life and limb of the human race, as well as terror to animal creation generally”.

    “And with that gentleman, let us recess to the parlour, I’ve acquired two mummiest, their unwrapping should be most entertaining.

  5. Gilbert Wham says:

    it might “gambol about the Earth’s surface with great danger to life and limb of the human race, as well as terror to animal creation generally”.

    God, I hope so.

  6. igm says:

    I’ve seen pictures of glass balloons. Glass can be drawn/blown pretty much infinitely thin, and these blown balloons were filled with helium and sealed, and yes, they floated.

    Ideally, a balloon would be filled with nothing, i.e. a vacuum. Where is the structure that can resist 1 atmosphere and still be light enough? Doesn’t exist yet.

    Gold leaf can be beaten very thin. Wonder if you could assemble a small hot air balloon out of them? That would be snazzy. Fill it w/hot air, then hang a tiny candle or other flame under it, and off it goes…

  7. Turtle Airships says:

    Thank you for mentioning the “turtle” airship.
    This is Darrell Campbell, CEO of Turtle Airships.
    Our company is 28 years old now, we are firmly committed to creating a global airship industry. Our goal is to field SOLAR POWERED, fast, amphibious, rigid shelled airships. (your note about the successfull ZMC-2 was particularly pleasing) That same success then, with aluminum metal airships; can be re-done, using the much stronger materials of todays’ technology.

    Turtle Airships will create “flying cruise ships”. Passengers on board Turtle Airships will enjoy private staterooms with showers, dancing on board, good “sit down” restaurants, etc.

    Using Solar Power and bio-diesel jet engines, the airships will greatly reduce the carbon emissions that current jets leave in the atmosphere. It’s our way of helping to create a better world!

  8. Anonymous says:

    In Ben Franklins autobiography there is a bunch of really cool history about Ben Franklins part in creating the first balloon flights in France…

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