France pumped up over cargo airships

March 7, 2018
Paris used an airship in 2014 to measure air pollution

France will pump up to 25 million euros ($31 million) into a fleet of rigid airships for transporting heavy cargo, the country's public investment bank said in a statement Wednesday.

The rigid airships—not to be confused with their cousins blimps that don't have an internal structure—will have a 60-tonne capacity, and be of particular use to freight and logging companies.

The airships, commonly known as zeppelins, will be filled with inert helium rather than hot air or flammable hydrogen which led to the 1937 Hindenburg disaster that ended their widespread use.

But the potential of airships to provide an environmentally-friendly, low-cost alternative to helicopters and airplanes for transporting cargo has led to renewed interest.

The French project, dubbed LCA60T, is being developed by a startup aptly named the Flying Whales.

Financing for the project will come in the form of subsidies and reimbursable grants.

The public investment fund will cover nearly half of the 61 million euros needed for the .

Flying Whales is also getting funding from the French forestry agency and China's aviation industry corporation AVIC.

The LCA60T was originally designed to collect wood from hard-to-reach areas of forests.

Not only startups are pursuing airships. A French company at last year's Paris Air Show expressed interest in purchasing 12 airships from US giant Lockheed Martin.

Explore further: Flying the flag for an airship revolution

Related Stories

Flying the flag for an airship revolution

September 7, 2016

The rise of freight airships could go down like a lead balloon with traditional aircraft companies but could also represent a new high for Asian companies seeking to exploit new ways to reach world markets, according to research ...

Second airship launched in test of missile defense system

August 19, 2015

On Wednesday, The North American Aerospace Defense Command launched the second of two helium-filled airships near Baltimore to test an East Coast missile defense system. The launch at the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground completes ...

NASA seeks comments on possible airship challenge

November 26, 2014

Airships aren't just powered balloon-like vehicles that hover above sporting events. Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are floating the idea that airships have potential for important ...

Recommended for you

Robot designed for faster, safer uranium plant pipe cleanup

April 21, 2018

Ohio crews cleaning up a massive former Cold War-era uranium enrichment plant in Ohio plan this summer to deploy a high-tech helper: an autonomous, radiation-measuring robot that will roll through miles of large overhead ...

After Facebook scrutiny, is Google next?

April 21, 2018

Facebook has taken the lion's share of scrutiny from Congress and the media about data-handling practices that allow savvy marketers and political agents to target specific audiences, but it's far from alone. YouTube, Google ...

How social networking sites may discriminate against women

April 20, 2018

Social media and the sharing economy have created new opportunities by leveraging online networks to build trust and remove marketplace barriers. But a growing body of research suggests that old gender and racial biases persist, ...

Virtually modelling the human brain in a computer

April 19, 2018

Neurons that remain active even after the triggering stimulus has been silenced form the basis of short-term memory. The brain uses rhythmically active neurons to combine larger groups of neurons into functional units. Until ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Macrocompassion
not rated yet Mar 08, 2018
Large airships structure can be more cheaply built outdoors as a flat sheet of bars that is later rolled up.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.