Lighter-Than-Air Transport Will Transform Humanity

Adoption of lighter-than-air (LTA) transport systems will have a massive transformational impact on humanity as they can bring benefits through 85 per cent reduced fuel consumption with virtually no expenditure on building additional infrastructure facilities, said Don R Hartsell, Commissioner and Managing Director, World Air League, and a sustainable lifestyle proponent. Speaking at a lecture organised at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology auditorium, Hartsell pointed out that LTA systems represent one of the most proven sustainable technology solutions for managing an important aspect of global commerce – the efficient transportation grid. The lecture was attended by a large number of students, faculty members, enthusiasts in environmental technology and green industry stakeholders. An overview of the proposed inaugural World Sky Race, which is planned in December 2016 as a historic competition of lighter-than-air ships racing 30,000-plus miles, was also offered by Hartsell. The event includes18 back-to-back races that span the globe, with the winner to be crowned the World Sky Champion. Hartsell said: “The intersection of advances in composites, manufacturing, engineering safety, helium production, avionics and weather forecasting are providing an opportunity to redefine the deployment of LTA as a sustainable means for an alternative future for this century. It would immensely benefit humanity if such sustainable practices could be adopted.” Airplanes expend 90 per cent of their energy for takeoff and 10 per cent for movement, while airships use their entire energy for movement, said Hartsell, and added that airships also require 85 per cent less fuel. Therefore, airships offer significant cost advantages including reduction in capital investment, operational and maintenance costs, and related environmental loss. Hartsell added: “Hybrid developments, advancements in construction and manufacturing technologies along with the use of helium gas — a safe, non-reactive, non-explosive, and anon-greenhouse element — should bring airships to the fore for wider use. Currently being wasted at production sites, the right investment could boost helium supplies and bring about a change in modern transportation methods.”

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