=FUTURE>FLIGHT - an airship story - Part 1
=FUTURE>FLIGHT - an airship story - Part 2
=FUTURE>FLIGHT - an airship story - Part 3
=FUTURE>FLIGHTInstallment Four: Renaissance
©2007 by Paul Boldt
I clicked on information about the Boldt Airship Company, or as the advertising went, “They’re BAC(k)”. Some of the info was about how this type of transportation came back into existence, after a long hiatus in mothballs. Nobody had been successful in creating a large commercial airship program for the longest time. Some even argued that DELAG, (DEutsche Luftschiffahrts Aktien Gesellschaft), the German Zeppelin Airshiplines wasn’t even considered independently financially successful as it had to be government backed in its early development of early zeppelins. But if you look at it, seemed like every type of transportation down the years had been government backed, from the early sailing ships from Columbus’ time, the railroads that conquered various parts of the globe, (some unsuccessfully like the ill fated railway that tried to traverse the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, initially beaten back by the native Indians, till the foreign government backed rail company electrified the rails, killing Indians to teach them a lesson. This rail line was eventually stopped dead in its tracks after actually operating for a number years, by a revengeful mother nature. Heavier than air, had major government back from it’s inception throughout its rapid development through the war years and even to this day with multi-company bailouts.
B.A.C. was no exception. Government backing initially came about with the deployment of the Military Disaster Relief Enforcements Program (MD.Rep or aka Dr.Rep), designed many years after the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which brought together commercial, military, and humanitarian interests for a faster (leased) government relief turnaround for natural catastrophe victims in the US and around the globe, as well as a band aid if ever a nuclear devastation were to occur.
No direct financial backing was given initially, but in exchange for free lease of land for 30 years (well a $1.00 changed hands- at least on paper), and some infrastructure just east but still within Miramar MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego , CA. USA) an exchange of an airship for a set period of time each year to be used in military integration exercises, along with the 13th airship being built that would be manufactured to military specs and leased by the military.
The military exercises tried everything from strapping five previously retired MV-22 Osspreys along the rigid airship’s upper haul for stress and lifting capacity experiments, to three monster Ch-53E Super Stallions that could lift a capacity of 16 tons each without being supported by an airship, but with their weight being supported by the lift of the airship, they could almost double the amount lifted!
The new airship harbor and manufacturing plant at Miramar is at the north end of the previous military training grounds of Camp Elliot. Canyons at Camp Elliot created a perfect cradle for the partially open top airship hangar.
The weather in San Diego, California created one of the best places for to build without a fully covered hangar. Average year round temperature of 70 F degrees/ 21 C , with a yearly rainfall of only 9.45 inches/ 24cm, most of the rain in the months of Dec/Jan/Feb when all of the construction of the outer hull was already completed.
I clicked on the live link to the camera on the bottom of the helicopter showing the airship coming into view just as millions of schoolchildren and adults all over the world were also watching the live cam, as the frenzy of passenger carrying airships traversing the sky was still as new and fresh as the first Space Shuttle missions once were… (Another government backed transportation and exploration program --commercial interest coming into play now with the first moon base being habited).... to be continued