solar flight

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Investing in cargo airships

Multi-Billion dollar ROI
cargo airships
hybrid airships

???   contact

Saturday, November 2, 2013


 the premise behind the "turtle" design 
Two things:  

First, it is patently impossible to "build" an airship out of fabric; no such craft can be constructed in sizes large enough, nor durable enough for more than fair weather operations, nor strong enough to carry engines that are more numerous or powerful.  Regrettably, it is what virtually all current blimp companies continue to do.

Second, the greatest challenge facing any airship design is not buoyancy, or flight, or even how it is constructed.   It is the ground handling.   A cursory glance at any blimp will show it's rounded lower hull, which cannot be placed upon the ground securely enough to control it.   And yet, again, most airship companies continue to build in just this manner.
 the Turtle is quite different.
When Lockheed Martin and Aeros Worldwide presented their airship concepts or designs to DARPA, those historic problems were readily apparent.   Walrus was folded because of this.
Lockheed and Aeros, both have tried to design a sort of "hovercraft" landing system that is supposed to "suck" the airship down onto the landing area and so eliminate past ground handling problems.    The idea flies in the face of logic, let alone practicality.   The reason that a "hovercraft" operates at all, is because the weight of the vehicle it is supporting pushes it downward, while the air it is blowing underneath it lifts it off the ground.  That weight is absolutely critical.   And yet,  these two companies proudly tout that their lighter-than-air craft can use it.  Complete nonsense.   Even when ballasted to a "heavy" condition, there still is to little weight.
There are further flawed design issues if one considers all the extra weight and controls for such a hovercraft landing system; and, it seems they completely discount any notion of FOBs (Foreign OBjects) being "sucked" into the system as well.    Utter folly.   (Concord tragedy, as example?)
 Turtle Airship, RE: lift.    We focus on pure aerostatic lift supplied from lifting gasses.   Any so called "hybrid airship"  (WALRUS, Lockheed's P-791, Aeros' "Aeroscraft", SkyCat, Ohio-Airships' "DynaLifter", etc), all need a runway.  Period.   Of short length perhaps, ungroomed, less likely (see FOBs note)...but a runway.    A "hybrid airship" is nothing more really than a very large, lightweight airplane.   Susceptible to all the cross winds that any other airplane has to deal with in landing or take off; plus with the addition of really immense "sail" area.   Again, folly.
The Turtle Airship does use directed thrust and common control surfaces to generate lift and control.  As also, using varied buoyancy via dumping ballast or venting gases; and, of course, use of a "lifting body" design.  Nevertheless, it is a true Lighter-than-Air airship.
RE: Carbon and Aluminum as structural materials: 
Turtle proposes to use rigid carbon fiber "threads" to connect an interior, aluminum wall,  and exterior carbon wall or outer surface of the airships' hull.   It is very strong, very lightweght, similar to a bird's bone.  We are also looking into marrying this with simple Aerogel-like materials.  Of course, this is the hull material; which is then supported via the geodesic construction and other interior framing.
As always, I'm pleased to discuss these things with persons who may then take the information to work with,  so that we might ALL become active partners in creating a new airship industry 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Minimum size Solar Powered Turtle Airship?

Thank you for your interest in Photon Flight and/or Turtle Airships.   
Turtle Airships has suggested fielding several differing sizes and capabilities of airship types.  Obviously, the costs for doing so will vary widely.    
RE:  an "absolute minimum size";
It is certainly possible to build a small model of a Turtle Airship  using very simple materials such as balsa, ripstop nylon, etc., along with simple solar cells, electric motors and propellers    Such a model could  be as small as 6-10' in length.  This could be constructed  for a few hundred dollars
However, the materials that are used in the Turtles' hull are heavier than expected for a lighter-than-air craft, and so any airship that is  more representative of the Turtle airship has to be larger in order to compensate for this.
The next step in size would use materials such as rigid plastics  for the hull panels instead of the true aluminum/carbon fiber honeycomb of much larger, true prototypes,  and carbon fiber for the framing of the craft.  It would also be desired to increase the amount of, or the type of, the solar cells used so that they more accurately reflect those to be used on large airships.    A "minimum" size would be close to 25' in length, and cost as little as $2,000.     This would still qualify as a "model" rather than a "prototype".   This size craft is very close to our UAV craft planned.
A craft that is twice the size of the above (45' long) could carry a pilot. 
We  intend to fly a demonstration airship around the world, carrying 3-5 persons.    This craft will take a few hundred thousand dollars to build, because of it's size and because it will use the real hull materials, thin film photovoltaics, jet engines, and other features of the design.
 Darrell Campbell

Monday, June 1, 2009

First Solar Powered Airship Flight Around the World! (NOT a Blimp!)

SOLAR POWERED air transport is the future!

We have been working towards this goal for three decades. Recent advancements in solar cell technologies is making solar powered flight possible; and several small airplanes are already flying.

However, only large airships have the room needed to carry enough solar cells to create aircraft that can carry large numbers of passengers or cargo. No airplane can do this, simply because they do not have the square foot capacity needed.

The new solar powered airship uses the "turtle" airship design, and is NOT A BLIMP. Our goal is to create a worldwide airship industry; manufacturing and operating large numbers of rigid shelled, fast, amphibious, solar powered airships.

What will it be like to fly in modern solar powered airships?
Airship passengers will enjoy private staterooms with showers, with large picture windows that can be opened for fresh air during flight. Meals are prepared in on-board kitchens and served in fine dining salons. Dance floors Libraries, Internet connections.

Airship flight is silent. There is no "turbulence", or banking as on an airplane. Airship flight is so smooth that the FAA does not require seatbelts. Passengers can walk throughout the airship while in flight, including take-off and landings.

Airships fly at very low altitudes above the surface; allowing passengers the opportunity for the most spectacular aerial sightseeing! And, in many instances, airships will are able to stop in mid-air and silently float above scenic attactions below such as wildlife, whales, volcanos, icebergs, city lights, etc.
We are always pleased to answer questions about our business; and, will be pleased to discuss investment or joint venture opportunities, and we will gladly assist other organizations to create this new form of air transport.

We will build a solar powered airship and fly it around the world.

It will be constructed of high strength aircraft grade aluminum alloy reinforced with carbon fiber composites. The top half of the airship will be covered with thin film photovoltaic cells. Electric power generated by these solar cells will be stored in batteries, or used to drive four electric motor propellors. A back-up system will use a biodiesel powered engine to power a generator to allow the airship to fly during bad weather or at night.

We will investigate the use of JET engines that can burn low cost/low emmisions biodiesel fuels (airplanes cannot use diesel fuel effictively because of the colder temperatures at high altitudes)

JET engines will enable the airships to fly much faster than in the past.

The airship will be a true vertical take off/land craft; and will not need any airport runways or other ground facilities to operate from. The airship will be designed as an amphibious craft, able to land or take off from land or water. It will make several landings in unimproved fields and the middle of the ocean in order to demonstrate these capabilities.

The airship will carry 3-5 persons (pilot and media).
It will measure approximately 125' long x 75' wide and 30' in height.
Cruise speed of the airship is expected to be 80-100 mph.

This promotional demonstration flight will highlight the capabilites of the "turtle" airship design. Contract sales of larger airships will result from positive media exposure to this new form of SOLAR POWERED FLIGHT.

The planned route of the Round-the-World flight will travel eastward from a departure point in the U.S. southwest near the city of Phoenix; and is expected to include stops at these locations:


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Solar Powered Aircraft


An aircraft that can fly to any location on Earth;
without need of any airport to operate from.
It needs no runway; landing and taking off vertically from unprepared fields, from icefields, desert sands, heavy shrublands, from lakes, rivers; ....even from the surface of the ocean.
It has no range limitations.
It can fly over oceans, mountains, continents, or around the world.
It is slower than commercial jets; but faster than trucks, trains, or marine ships.
It can carry hundreds of passengers, or hundreds of tons of cargos.

No Blimps. No zeppelins. Only RIGID SHELLED AIRSHIPS

Large airships have the expanse of hull needed to carry huge arrays of solar cells; airplanes do not. Hull surface areas are large enough to allow less costly solar cells with lower efficiencies to be used with great effect.

The ideal is to deposit amorphous thin film photovoltaics (solar cells) onto very thin metal substrate materials such as aluminum, titanium, or stainless steel. These SUBSTRATES ARE INCORPORATED INTO THE STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS OF THE HULL itself; serving double duty.

Solar generated electricity is fed directly to electric motors driving the airships' propellors.To reduce the weight of the motors, advanced electric motors that substitute superconducting magnets in place of traditional copper wire are used. Excess electricity generated during daylight operations is used to divide water by electrolisis into oxygen and hydrogen; which is stored for use in fuel cells for flight during night or overcast sky conditions.Water exhaust produced by the fuel cells, and water condensed from ambiant air during flight, is conserved as ballast to be cast off or saved as needed to adjust or maintain the airships' bouyancy. BIO-DIESEL powered electric generators are used as a back-up system to the solar cells and fuel cells.

The nice thing about airships is....they float in the air.

Which means that they do not need to rely upon thrust to fly. Which means that they do not need complex, expensive engines to produce thrust. Which means that they do not need the special aviation fuels used by airplanes. Which means that airships can save the world!
The giant zeppelins of the 1930s' used simple, reliable diesel engines. If it's been done successfully in the past, why not now? Except, change the diesel fuel to....BIO-DIESEL. just saved the world; or, at least, made a huge impact. Consider, you can now provide air transport to ANY market, using fuels that can be produced in ANY locale, regardless of the costs or availability of fossil fuels.

During flight using solar power only, there are ZERO carbon emmisions.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009



The airship is a true lighter-than-air craft.

Although the airship has a lifting body shape, it is not a hybrid airship. The airship can operate using only aerostatic lift supplied though negative bouyancy. Additional, supplemental aerodynamic force is derived from the shape of the airship
The overall shape of the airship is a broad helipsoid.

The airship has an internal framing system of carbon fibre trusses and matrix.
The entire outer surface of the airship hull is comprised of numerous rigid honeycomb sandwich panels of aluminum and carbon fibre. These panels are a uniform size and shape and are laid up in a geodesic construction, giving the airship a faceted appearance.

Instead ot the traditional gondola, the bottom of the airship has three separate elongated hulls in a trimaran configuration. A main, or central, hull extends the full length of the airship from bow to stern, with two shorter "outrigger' hulls.
In larger models of the airships, the two outrigger hulls contain living quarters for passengers.

Engines and motors are embedded within the central hull and horizontal planes. Air inlets for the engines and motors are located underneath the airships' hull.
Thrust from engines is directed through plenums to the stern of the airship, and through the top and bottom of the airship.

The top half of the airships' hull is covered with thin film photovoltaic materials.

Two lighter-than-air gasses are used to supply lift; these are contained within rigid walled compartments within the major portion of the airships' hull.
Manned airships provide sufficient room for comfortable crews quarters, with full kitchen and bath facilities. Waste is collected and incinerated board the airship.

The airship uses dual propulsion systems; electric and diesel

The top of the airships' hull is covered with thin film photovoltaic solar cells which supply electricity to batteries; these battries in turn are used to power electric motors and propellors. Thrust can be directed directly perpendicular to the line of flight, or straight up or down as needed.
Amounts of thrust, and directions needed for thrust to be diverted are determined by computers tied to sensors located throughout the body of the airship which measure changes in forces caused by varying winds. This system provides a dynamic, constantly attenuated control and allows the airship to maintain absolute level and stable flight through unstable air currents.
These same systems are used to effect for landing the airship or take off; thrust being diverted straight up or down as needed.

These systems give the Turtle airship unparalleled maneuverability; the airship can hover, move directly from side to side, or spin horizontaly on its' own axis.

The primary propulsion is derived from biofueled jets. This makes the airships reach speeds of up to 200 mph.

Solar Power is used for long endurance flights as needed during sightseeing cruise flight.

from the propellers located within the horizontal planes is used together with the main thrust

The materials used in the airships' hull are durable enough to leave outside in all weather conditions; the airship does not need a hangar.
The airship does not tie up to a mooring mast, and needs no ground crew to assist in take-off or landings.


The airship is a totaly VTOL craft; it does not bank in turns, and maintains a level attitude during all parts of flight, including take-off and landing.

Helium is not vented.

Water ballast can be regained or obtained during flight directly from ambient air by using water condensation units.

Flying on solar power alone, the airship has no range limitations.

In large airships, enough solar cells are available to produce excess electricity; this can be used to split water into its' oxygen and hydrogen components; these gasses can the be fed directly to burn as fuel if desired.


The airship settles directly onto any suitably sized calm water surface.

Upon landing on the surface of the water, the airship takes on water ballast After taking on ballast, the airship lies in the water as stable as a marine vessel.
The airship is then moved and steered and docks at a pier just as a marine vessel

To take off, water ballast is jettisoned, and thrust is directed downwards; the primary engines force air under the airship hull to break surface tension and ease take-off.


The airship can hover over a landing area for extended periods; or, decend very gradually . This vertical, slow approach is much safer than other airplanes, helicopters, or hybrid airships.
The airship lands directly onto the ground; without ground crew assistance; and, without any need of special mooring masts or other prepared facilities.

Upon landing, the airship can be held to the surface by the directed thrust, or anchored as desired from outside the craft.
preprogrammed to include perform multiple landings and take offs as desired, without ground crew attendance.

Reduntant computers and sensors systems monitor and control all aspects of flight, measuring thrust, bouyancy, ambient and internal temperatures, gas volumes, ballasting, electric power and fuel reserves, altitude above ground level, and payload weights. Radar and computers select optimum flight paths through all weather conditions.

The solar airship uses built-in mooring systems that are automaticly engaged upon landing either in water or on ground, and which are locked until directed by a pilot.

No mooring masts or other recovery and/or docking facilities are needed by this type of airship. No hangers are needed.

Monday, August 25, 2008


The latest news is the solar powered endurance record of ZEPHYR. This airplane built by QinetiQ will eventually cause people to consider solar powered flight with a MANNED aircraft.
The paper thin solar cells used on the Zephyr are the same type of materials planned for the solar powered around-the-world flightof our unique solar power/biofueled, rigid shelled, amphibious airship .