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This is not the same thing

Hybrid Air Vehicles’ Airlander 10 is slower than traditional jets, but much more efficient, aiming to slash the carbon output per passenger by 90pc. Slashing carbon output will also make the trips cheaper as fuel expenses are cut.

Lower carbon output per journey means more efficient as measured by carbon output per journey. It does not mean more efficient tho’.

It might end up being cheaper and slower – which in short haul could well be more efficient. For there gets to be a length of journey where the airport time dominates the flying time.

All sounds most fun – but it’s still not true that lower carbon output is defining more efficient.

29 thoughts on “This is not the same thing”

  1. There was a site compared the energy efficiency of various forms of transport. The jet came top over distances greater that around 450 miles (IIRC). But you wouldn’t be comparing airships with jets, anyway. It would be truck, rail & ships. And yes, jets are more efficient than ships. It’s the mass of the fluid they’re travelling in & have to displace related to their cross sectional area. Water’s much denser than air.
    So it’s quite possible, over shorter distances, airships are the most efficient. Total inertia of the system over mass of the payload.

  2. This looks like nothing more than a private jet for those rich virtue signallers who lecture the rest of us about saving the planet but don’t want to be labelled hypocrites.

    I can just see Leo and Emma enjoying canapes on their trip back to the US:

    Max. speed: 30mph. Distance London to LA: 5447 miles. Flying time:7.56 days. Max time aloft with crew: 5 days…..Oh, Houston we have a problem.

  3. @Addolff — they’ll have two. One to get them from wherever-they’re-seen to an airport, then private jet for the transatlantic leg to an out-of-the-way airport where they transfer to the other one (which is already there) so that they can be seen to arrive in it.

  4. What altitude fly the things at?

    Ahh….The ones where “weather” still plays a major part….
    And the Yahoo’s are already complaining about delays and cancelled flights right now..
    When these virtue-signalling toys would carry the bulk of short-distance air travel… Oh. Boy..

  5. I seem to recall that one of the touted advantages of the Airlander was that it could be despatched to a disaster zone fully loaded with rescue equipment therefore bypassing the usual customs and border zones where vital equipment is often delayed subject to ransom (brown envelopes of cash).

    Maybe I only read the cynical parts of the news though…

  6. Flying time:7.56 days. Max time aloft with crew: 5 days…..Oh, Houston we have a problem.

    Hi Greta. We’ve sorted out your next transatlantic trip. Yes of course it’s carbon neutral, don’t worry about a thing.

  7. I was under the impression that the airship was most likely to be used for Heavy/ Medium weight freight to anwhere without adequate roads.
    If the alternative is having to construct dirt track / bridges for 40 ton lorries, then I could see it being much cheaper for one off/ occasional trips.
    OTOH with the Bananas in charge in most of the western world, theres no need for construction as the unicorns will build it for us.

  8. I haven’t read the article but I’m sure they’ve added in the carbon dioxide produced as they source, compress, transport and pump in the helium to their total CO2 budget.

    Didn’t I read somewhere that He is scarce and getting scarcer? Maybe Russia or Ukraine are the main source. Still, I’m sure they’ve taken this into account in there cost/benefit sums.

  9. From the article:
    Aircraft makers and airlines are racing to find ways to decarbonise their products and have been slow in producing new models when compared to the motor industry.

    No shit.
    Maybe because of the vastly greater cost of developing a new plane? The vastly greater bureaucratic load of designing a plane? The vastly stricter (more bureaucracy) quality control that goes into building each plane? (Everything is stamped by operators on legal quality documents)
    How about the vastly longer lifecycle of a plane?
    How about the larger unit cost of a plane compared to a car?
    I doubt this person has spent any time in the aviation industry…

  10. “Aircraft makers and airlines are racing to find ways to decarbonise their products and have been slow in producing new models when compared to the motor industry.”

    Those damn laws of physics again, Cap’n.
    Perhaps Biden should issue an executive order to repeal the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

    And if the max speed is 30mph, what do you do if the wind is blowing?
    Fly right round the world and take them by surprise?

  11. Just seen Michaela ‘I live in South Africa but didn’t sail over carbon neutrally to the UK for Naturewatch on a carbon fibre boat’ Strachan and Chris ‘the other bird watching nut that isn’t Bill Oddie’ Packham spraying bubbles from a bubble machine over some plants at Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk. The stuff’s made from hydrocarbons! (unless they used fully organic, ethically sourced, not petroleum based liquid of course………).

  12. @bis: most of the energy used propelling ships is used in wave-making. The energy cost is high because they are moving at the interface of water and air. Submarines would be a better comparison for airships.

  13. What I cannot find the answer is how can anything involving people be ‘carbon neutral’? We’re carbon based life forms. And just what do the mean by ‘carbon”? Carbon Dioxide is not ‘carbon’. It’s a compound of carbon, an inert gas.

  14. Has anyone considered who currently takes a flight to Belfast and whether they’d want this?

    The journey time for the journey is: get in my car, drive to the airport, park, checkin, get on a flight, get in a waiting car I’ve booked, travel to the office.

    I’m going to guess that the additional bits that aren’t the plane/blimp are 90 minutes, minimum. So, you leave home at 7, you then have 50 minutes of flight and 90 minutes of additional, which means you’re seeing the manager at the Belfast factory at 09:20. And if you want to get home by 20:00, you have to leave the office by 17:40. By blimp, I’m at the office at 11:15 and I have to leave the office at 15:45. So roughly speaking, you get half the time at the factory than the plane gives you. Fine if you want to see 1 person, but if you want to see 2 or 3 people, you’re going to be pushing it, and you’ll have to do another trip.

  15. Any constant wind on a round trip costs extra time. The tailwind doesn’t make up for the headwind leg, a crosswind costs both ways. AND, if the windspeed is a large proportion of the cruise speed, you lose buckets of time. That’s plain mathematics and cannot be fixed by magical thinking. Airships predate aeroplanes but never could compete.

  16. dearime, for those of a certain age, ‘Look at Life’ was a highly anticipated and enjoyed part of the cinematic experience of the ’50’s and ’60’s (for the benefit of those patrons who prefer not to smoke, the left hand side of this auditorium has been designated as ‘Non-Smoking’. . I always wondered how the fuck the smoke knew…), one of which discusses the use of submarines for cargo transport, although to be honest, after all these it’s only entrepreneurs of the calibre of Pablo Escobar who have used this mode of cargo shipping: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3Sul5TZ288

  17. I always wondered how the fuck the smoke knew…

    Same way the Covid virus knew it had to leave people alone while they were sitting at restaurant tables but could do what it liked when they were walking in and out.

  18. MrVeryAngry: “Carbon Dioxide is not ‘carbon’. It’s a compound of carbon, an inert gas.”

    OK.. That almost triggered a killing rage..

    MrVeryAngry…. please report to your nearest Chemistry 101 class, preferably one that still employs the Cane and the Dunce Hat. They’ll need them for you….

  19. bypassing the usual customs and border zones where vital equipment is often delayed subject to ransom

    Haven’t those guys got Ack-Ack? It seems an obvious counter to lack of baksheesh.

    I liked the name of the company – Air Nostrum – given the colloquial meaning of Nostrum.

  20. It seems that every few years the media breathlessly announce a new airship design that is going to revolutionize the air travel market. These always appear to be a) premature b) the same company releasing the same rehashed PR blurb, or c) a scam company looking for investors. In some cases, all three

  21. It seems that every few years the media breathlessly announce a new airship design that is going to revolutionize the air travel market. These always appear to be a) premature b) the same company releasing the same rehashed PR blurb, or c) a scam company looking for investors. In some cases, all three

    Agreed.

    I like the idea of airships which seem to be a more graceful way of flying than all this rushing about. To say they are impractical is an understatement though.

    I blame the Hindenburg.

  22. and the R101.
    Mr. Norway describes flying the Atlantic in the R100, and seems they were fortunate.
    And the US Navy had another disaster, I forget the name.
    Not so many successes.
    A bit of a pattern developing.

  23. Hauling cargo to undeveloped sites – makes sense.

    There’s no other place where they make sense.

    Why take a blimp for a 150 mile trip when I can take a bus – or better, a car? They travel at the sames speed!

    Why take a blimp on a 600+ miles trip that while take 8-16 hours when I can just fly in a jet in 2?

    Major cargo goes by train overland, ship at sea (and while a ship is less efficient with small loads, a loaded container ship is more efficient than an equivalent fleet of blimps – especially when it comes to crew costs). In either case it then goes by truck for the ‘final mile’, which it will still have to do for a blimp.

  24. “The Flying Bum” as the Airlander was nicknamed, and seen from the rear it’s obvious why. The last I heard of this machine it had broken loose from its moorings and flattened a perimeter fence…

  25. Tim the Coder

    The R100 was designed by Barnes Wallis and was built and operated by private enterprise. The R101 was a government project, designed by a committee.

  26. As far as I know, this thing isn’t actually an airship. It’s a gas filled lifting body. It gets some of its lift from the helium & some aerodynamically. So it has a smaller cross sectional area, displaces less air & should be more efficient than a pure airship

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