Canadian Airships

Materials and Methods

There are many good ideas for the development of airships and most have yet to be fully explored. Airship structures can be rigid, semi-rigid or non-rigid. Shapes can range from tubular to catamaran designs to disks or spheres. Similarly, many materials can be used to build envelopes and gas cells. Finally, many methods exist to adjust buoyancy. Ballast can be added or removed, or gas can be vented (if hydrogen is used). The lifting gas can be heated, cooled or compressed. Aerodynamic lift can be obtained in conjunction with engine thrust. Of course, all these approaches can be used in various combinations. At this point the dominant design for a cargo airship has yet to be proven, but BASI has come to come conclusions on our design of a robust airship for cold climates.

A rigid, tubular airship design has advantages in locations that experience wide temperature swings. The gas cells inside the hull of the airship can expand or contract with temperature changes and not affect the operations of the aircraft.

The BASI airship operates only from fixed bases, and lands on a rotating terminal. This allows for some systems to be located on the ground, rather than on the airship. For example, access to ground-power reduces the weight and need for on-board electrical power during mooring and transshipping cargo. Ground-handling equipment, e.g. fork-lift trucks, can be staged at the base. Perhaps most importantly, a simpler water-based ballasting system can be used; water ballast can be available at each location to offset weight changes.

A hybrid-electric propulsion system is used to power the airship. Initially, standard turbine generators will be employed, but the plan is to eventually shift to hydrogen fuel in order to eliminate carbon emissions.

The gas cells are designed to hold either hydrogen or helium. The gas cells are protected with a proprietary system of fire-resistant materials and a fire wall.

Airship envelope inside the BASI Research Airdock.
Proprietary materials for gas cells being prepared for sealing at BASI’s Ontario facility.
BASI has developed specialty materials and sealing methods to be used for gas cell manufacturing. Gas cells are perhaps one of the most important structures of a buoyant aircraft and require special knowledge of how these cells work together to provide even lift along the entire length of the aircraft. Dale George is shown here seaming metalized films to calibrate the equipment at BASI’s Ontario location.


Design

Below is the airship depicted in the concept stage. To view images in PDF - download here.

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CANADIAN AIRSHIP LANDING WITH USE OF WINCHES

ROTATING TURNTABLE LANDING PAD TO POINT THE AIRSHIP INTO THE WIND

UNLOADING AND MOVING THE CARGO USING FORKLIFT TRAILER

CANADIAN AIRSHIP DESIGN FEATURES

LOW PERMEABILITY LIFTING GAS CELLS


General Operating Specifications for the 30T-lift Canadian Airship

Length 560 feet
Max. Diameter 80 feet
Max. Height 90 feet
Max. Width 100 feet
Volume 2.2 Million Cubic Feet
Ballast Water
Fineness Ratio 6.2
Tail Surfaces One Rear Stabilizer and Rudder
Elevators Forward Canards, 45 degree
Vectoring Control Full 180 degree, up and down
Max. Gross Lift 60 Tons
Max. Takeoff Weight 62 Tons
Useful Load 30 Tons
Power Twin, Pratt & Whitney PT-6 APUs
Propulsion Four, 390kw Siemens Electric
Propellers Hoffman 12’-6”, 20 degree
Fuel Capacity 1000 US Gallons
Fuel Reserve 200 US Gallons
Fuel Consumption 880 lbs / hour
Fuel Type Jet A Diesel (colored)
Cruise Speed 80 Knots
Max. Speed 100 Knots (full rich settings)
Stall Speed 0 Knots
Max. Takeoff Angle 10 degrees
Max. Cross Wind 25 Knots at 90 Degrees
Max. Wind Limit 50 Knots
Max Endurance 10 Hours
Max. Range Nautical Miles 1200 Miles (lean settings)
Typical Range Nautical Miles 800 Miles
Service Ceiling 5000 feet
Cargo Bays Twin door with aircraft roll-out floors
Max. Cargo Length 160 feet
Pilots Single with Co-Pilot or Unmanned
Min. Ground Crew 2
Ground Control Terminal Support System
Buoyant Aircraft Rotating Terminal, (BART)