So What is a Hot-Air (or Thermal) Airship ?
In simple terms a thermal airship is a hot-air balloon that is shaped to resemble a slightly fatter version of a helium filled airship, such as the Goodyear. The primary differences are that it is inflated with low cost hot-air rather than expensive helium. requires only a small ground crew, and no large hangar for storage purposes.
How does a Thermal Airship Work ?
It’s a well known fact that warm air rises. The air contained in the airship’s envelope is heated by powerful burners that are fuelled by liquid petroleum gas — usually propane. When the air is warmed the airship will rise; allow gentle cooling and the craft will descend until the burner is used again. Altitude control is quite precise.
The propeller mounted behind the gondola is driven by a small but powerful engine. When the pilot opens the throttle the airship moves forward; operate the rudder control and the craft will turn almost within its own length. In truth it’s a little more complicated than that, but not much.
With a top speed of up to 32 km/20 miles per hour and a preference for the lighter wind conditions that are found in the early mornings and evenings, the thermal airship is not designed for long cross country journeys.
An airship included promotional, corporative programmes has majestic view at places where a lot of people gather together and at sporting events or competitions.
Subject to national regulations you can even make spectacular cross town sorties at night, the envelope being illuminated like a giant sign every time the burner is turned-on.
Helium Gas Airships
Airships filled with helium gas are more expensive to build and operate than thermal airships, can pick up high speed, are less sensitive to weather conditions and are primarily used for passenger carrying or surveillance operations. Cameron Balloons specialises in the manufacture of small helium filled airships to meet «one-off» customer requirements. Please contact us to discuss how we can meet your specific needs.