Bad weather halts Frenchman's airship Channel crossingBut to really get the inside scoop about the project you should dust of your french and read the Blog "Voyage à la lisière de l'Utopie" it chronicles in great detail the whole project with some really great pictures videos and behind the scenes stories. In case you aren't able to make sense of all the french on the Blog Google Translate comes to help here the link to the autotranslated version of the Blog.
Jun 9, 2008
LILLE, France (AFP) — A Frenchman planning to fly across the Channel on a pedal-powered airship, a world first, was forced to call off his crossing due to high winds Tuesday, his team said.
Stephane Rousson, 39, had intended to leave Dungeness beach in southeastern England before dawn on Tuesday for the five-hour, 55-kilometre (33-mile) journey to northern France.
But dangerously strong winds forced him to postpone the adventure, a team member said. No date had yet been announced for a new attempt.
It took Rousson, a qualified pilot and extreme sports enthusiast, four years to prepare for the crossing.
His 16-metre (52-feet) long airship is designed to glide 30 metres (100 feet) above water, with the pilot in semi-reclining position underneath, steering it with two propellers on either side of the pedals.
In 1979, US cyclist Brian Allen made the same crossing on board a pedal-powered aeroplane.
Some highlights are of course the YouTube Videos.
- ITV news du 10 Juin 2008
- ITV news du 09 Juin 2008
- France3 19/20 tentative du 10 juin
- France2 extrait du 20h du 9 juin 2008
Last year Stephane Rousson was involved in the Theolia Windream One Project, making the attempd to cross the Atlantic with a small 2 person airship. To learn more about the Windream One go back to our previous posts. The Windream One website seems to undergo a change currently and there haven't been any news from the project since mid 2007. Searching the web we also could not find anything about the current state of the project. If you know something let us know send us an email or post in the Forums.
When I read about the reasons why the attempt failed I stared to wonder. The AFP article mentions "dangerously strong winds" were the reason why Stephane Rousson had to cancel. Which brings me to a thought why do airships always have to fight winds, why are winds something bad for airships? Could we not construct an airship that would use the winds instead of fighting the winds? Could a sailing airship be constructed? An airship that uses kite sails to steer? Maybe an upside down sailing ship? Is it possible has it been tried? Having an airship that works more like a sailing ship which uses it's propellers just for low speed maneuvering. What do you think?