Ideas Good, Bad and Wacky

Saw this the other day, and went all ‘Finally!’:

Lockheed Martin's hybrid airship
“Balloon shaped”? Kinda like “Pie flavored”. 

Since I was a kid and first read about zeppelins (1), I’ve wanted somebody to make a useable lighter-than- or not-too-much-heavier-than-air craft. Judging by how often similar things appear in fiction (in the Golden Compass movie, at least, the airship was just about the coolest thing!) I’m not the only one. I’m giving myself a Jules Verne ‘He Got That Right’ honorable mention, as I’d also always imagined them being used for tricky landings – you could drop one into a short-short runway or on any body of water, thus opening up 99% of the world to air transit & shipping. So what if they’re slower than a jet? They’re way faster than boats, and as fast as trains and trucks – and don’t need tracks, navigable waterways, or roads. So, I get the Airship Prediction Badge. Or something.

What I never thought was what Cordwainer Smith imagined in War No. 81-Q – that you’d wage war (even simulated war) with these sorts of things. They’d make a sitting duck look positively evasive.

Still waiting on the other thing: I long thought these ships would make perfect cruise ships of the air. With 24 tons of capacity, why not put in a little resort hotel like cabin, where people could relax or work as they traveled from one side of the continent or ocean to the other? It would take about 30 hours to go from New York to LA – why not go in style, especially if you can work, sleep and recreate while you do so?  And the views would be awesome!

People live at Lake Tahoe for really only one reason: it’s fun. Trees, mountains, bracingly clean air and an awesomely beautiful lake inspire people to move to or visit this out-of-the-way place where very few could live if remarkable roads up, around and through impressive granite mountains didn’t make it easy to get, say, food. It is a charming characteristic of us humans that we do stuff like that. That’s why I think there will eventually be a fleet of airships equipped as cruise ships – because it would be so cool!

  1. Let *one* Hindenburg go down in flames, and *everybody* gets SO touchy…

Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

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