Monday, August 4, 2008

Turtle Airships the brainchild of Darrell Campbell

While it is easy to write about the Zeppelin, the Goodyear Blimps or the Metlife Blimps. There are other posts that are a bit more challenging because they touch a controversial announcement or project. Today we want to take a look at Turtle Airships the company of Darrell Campbell. His concept and design was first made prominent as the Millenium Airship SkyFreighter which used Campbells deisgns as inspiration. He continued to develop his concept and now promotes his own airship called the Turtle Airship described as a
Rigid SHELLED Lighter-than-Air, >200mph, AMPHIBIOUS, all weather passenger airships. SOLAR POWERED with Bio-fuel backup power
Unfortunately there is today no airship that can even tick one of those boxes there is no rigid shelled airship, none that flies faster than 200mph, non that is amphibious or can fly in all weather. No human carrying airship that is solar powered or uses bio-fuel. Tree Hugger has written about Turtle Airships in 2007 but published a quite critical article just recently which you can read here. This article came in response to a press release that Turtle Airships issued. Read on for the full text:
Giant Flying Turtles to Revolutionize Global Aviation with Solar Power

A new way to fly! Turtle Airships company announces the beginning of construction iof a demonstration model of a new form for lighter-than-air airships. The airships are not blimps. They are solar powered and will reach speeds of 200 mph.

Valencia, Spain (PRWEB) July 2, 2008 -- Turtle Airships company will change the world aviation industry with 200 mph solar powered airships. Constructed with rigid shelled hulls of aluminum and carbon fiber, the airships look like giant turtles. These "turtle" airships are not blimps or zeppelins. The airships are being designed in Spain and the U.S.

Construction has started on a first prototype and the first flight and testing is scheduled to be done in Singapore this year. Turtle Airships will make a demonstration around-the-world flight of the new solar powered airship in 2009.

The airships' hulls are covered with solar cells which power the airships during daylight hours. For flying at night or cloudy weather, the airships use bio-diesel fueled jet engines as a back-up system. The airships cruise at speeds which are comparable to some airplanes.

The airships take off and land straight up and down like a helicopter and are amphibious. They land directly onto the water and take on water ballast for stability like a boat. The airships can land in harbors, rivers, mountain lakes, or the middle of the ocean.

The airships will also land on any empty field or at airports, and use built in systems to anchor to the surface without ground crew assistance. Turtle airships do not need huge hangers and can fly in any weather.

"Almost everyone immediately thinks of blimps or the Hindenburg," says company president, Darrell Campbell. "The Turtle airship is far more advanced in technology and capabilities."

Although there are less than fifty blimps or zeppelins in the world now, Turtle Airships expects to field hundreds of its' solar powered airships. Turtle Airships plans to invest over $200 million in airship manufacturing plants and airship operations by 2012; with an expected (IPO) public offering to raise over $3 billion scheduled for 2015. To reach these goals the company will work with local and national Economic Development agencies throughout the world to train workers and develop solar powered airship programs. Turtle Airships will also enter into joint ventures and is seeking venture capital and private investments which are directed toward alternative fuels and solar energy.

The company will concentrate on building airships meant for the travel market, with secondary emphasis given to military applications. The company had been originally considered for a U.S. Department of Defense airship program called "WALRUS", which was to create giant airships for military transport. Turtle Airships is designing airships for security surveillance and interdiction of pirates in the waters off of Somalia, Indonesia, and Nigeria.

Turtle Airships will also use "flying hospitals" to deliver worldwide humanitarian aid. Carrying doctors, foods, emergency equipment and other supplies, airships can avoid delays and complex delivery systems by flying to disaster areas and landing directly where help is needed. The airships will be made available to the United Nations, International Red Cross, Red Crescent, and other aid organizations.

"Turtle Airships is the only company in the world that is focused on creating a new aviation industry based on solar powered flight," says Campbell. "We can save over $100 billion each year on fuel costs alone, another several hundred billion dollars in airport construction, and eliminate a major source of carbon emissions. Airships are a trillion dollar industry, still in its' infancy, that will grow for decades."

Darrell Campbell is the designer of the "turtle" airship, and president of the twenty-seven year old company.

For additional information, and direct email address, visit the company Web page at or visit a company Web blog at
The claims that can be read in this press release are very bold, especially since an airship of that size will have to be certified by numerous aviation authorities and that it took Zeppelin almost 8 years to get the Zeppelin NT certified. So a round the world flight in 2009 seems very unlikely to me. We wish Darrell and his Company all the luck in the world and we hope to see pictures and videos of the prototype soon, because 2009 is approaching fast. if you want to read more about Turtle Airships it's best to take a look at the Turtle Airships Blog were Darrell actively promotes his designs and outline why traditional blimps are not the best solution. He also writes two other blogs MILITARY- AIRSHIPS (no blimps) and solar flight! which are also promoting his ideas.

So what do you think. Does it sound like a hoax or a scam to you or do you think the idea is brilliant? Do you maybe even know more, have additional pictures or inside information? Please share them with us in the comments, by sending us an email or by talking to other fellow readers in the Forum


Darrell Campbell said...

Well, that was one hell of a shock!

Darrell here. Dropped in cause Airshipworld is one of my favorite places to read. And discovered this post by complete accident. So, hello Andreas and everyone else.

Ummmm...Yeah, I do kinda get down on blimps a lot...but I also acknowledge that they have their place, and I always support ANY lighter-than-air program. The airship industry needs all the participants we can get.

Now, there's an awful lot to say, and I'll save it for those who are really interested enough to email me.

But....gotta clear up that "millennium skyfreighter" stuff: there numerous blog entries floating around the net showing the millennium pictures, while in an article about Turtle. This was done originally by TreeHugger. It is a misundertanding on their part. It came about because of a single phrase I used in a letter to TreeHugger, in which I described myself as being ¨the originator of the design upon which the Millennium Airship is based¨

Note, I did not say I designed the Millennium airship. TreeHugger had highlighted the Millennium design in an earlier article, and I was merely refering to it as being similar to my own design.

How likely to be determined in court at some later time.

Suffice to say.....I designed what I call the ¨turtle¨ airship, in whole, on my own, in 1980. For over 27 years now I have been promoting it. I wrote my book ¨Helium Phoenix¨ in 1996; which describes Turtle Airships as a business and some ot the design features; while addressing different markets such as travel and military transport.
!n 1999, Mr. Costin read my book. He and I shared a few conversations. He liked my design. In our conversations I explained several technologies that would make the Turtle airship unique. He wanted to be a partner with me in Turtle Airships. His expectations were premature and unreasonable; and we parted ways.

One month later, he had formed an airship company and had a web page up on the Internet. Prominent was a picture of an airship; almost identical to Turtle. The very name "millennium" is perhaps taken off of a photograph of a model of a Turtle Airship, which was copywrited in 1990, nine years prior to this time. Subsequent to this , one key technology has been promoted as part of the Millennium project, which is based in whole upon my work.

Turtle Airships has no connections with "Millennium Airship" or "Skyfreighter" of any kind.

Anonymous said...

I'm a purist, not yet convinced of the usefulness of hybrids. Nonteheless, monocoque is the way to go!

Anonymous said...

total bogus, come read the truth.....

I have video proof,docs and signatures...
I do NOT think for a sec that ANYONE PREDATES MY WORK.

Anonymous said...


looking on his blog.

"Thursday, August 07, 2008
Current mood: adventurous

To those who do not know me my First blog "Save the Earth from Above the Earth" may have sounded pretentious or arrogant, HA!
I Produced a video 1995 which cirulated from New York to Israel to Russia and other places,in this video I showed My AIRSHIP and talked about many of the aspects(controls and width...) of what Airships could BE using my Designs.Most Airships that have come on the scene since USE My Revolutionary Ideas.The orignal work was done in 1991.

No one has stolen my work,to be clear they were set on the Right Path by My Work.

Whether for lack of understanding or misunderstand or plain old Fear of the "New", the people who saw my work used parts of the whole.Some liked the Hybred aspects of my Airship,some the Width,the most Important was the Idea of Not using (A First) a Gondola.These people All have Failed,when your Heart is not in your work which you "borrowed"in the First place,you Fail.

I talked about Cruises,Oh not the way it was done in 1936 (where Everyone was stuck till they saw MY AIRSHIP vid) Oh no,I spoke of Full Decks "Inside" the Ship (Safe),layers of cabins,swiming pools,Tennis courts,Bars,Dancefloors, Solar Power.....the whole nine yards.Not to mention SPEED,My AIRSHIP "WILL BE THE FIRST TO GO FASTER THEN 200 MPH".They can't do it !

CONTROL,its an Airships BIGGEST Problem, I HAVE THE ANSWER...........................................................SECRET.

NO ONE SEES HUMAN SAFTY AS I DO, not basing my work on Money or other small minded concepts,I put People (FIRST) Inside to provide a Cocoon around the passengers.It's just DUMB to put them on the bottom.Did some take note of this? Well Yes they did,Is there AN AIRSHIP Industry to really speak of ......NOT YEEEEEEET !!!

Why is there NOT AN AIRSHIP Industry to really speak of,.......TO BE CONTINUED...."

Let's see,

" My Revolutionary Ideas.The orignal work was done in 1991."

Solar power, Living spaces internal to the ship, High speed. Absolute control of the airship under all conditions.

I think he should go read some of Mr. Walden's papers from the 1970s and 1980s. At least Mr. Walden explained HOW he was going to do it with working models he flew in the 1970s and 1980s and patent aplications from the same time.

Solar power - All of his ships for low speed and hovering flight.

Living spaces inside of the ship - Air Yacht, ES-1 Floating resort.
Not to mention the classic rigids.

High speed - HYPER, Mouse Express, Advanced EK ships, BBDs.

Avsolute control - DCB, MTU, thruster systems, finless flight.

Even the Turtle and Millenium airships predate 1991.

So much for "Johnny-come-latelys" claiming to be "first"!

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Nostradome said...

Is Turtle Airships just full of hot air?

by Katie Hammel (RSS feed) on Jul 30th 2009 at 5:30PM

On Tuesday, I wrote about Turtle Airships, a company that's trying to produce a solar-powered amphibious "airship" capable of crossing the Atlantic. While we weren't exactly flooded with responses over the post, we did get a few concerned comments from members of the Lighter-than-Air community. Yes, there is a whole community dedicated to blimps, zeppelins, and airships, and yes those are all different things (see, we're learning so much here).

Apparently, there are some airship enthusiasts who aren't quite convinced that the folks over at Turtle Airships have their heads on straight. Darrell Campbell, CEO and designer of Turtle Airships, would of course, beg to differ. The company's slapdash website and offer of a free ride to anyone who ponies up $10 for an e-book doesn't help their credibility, but poor marketing skills and a questionable product don't necessarily make a company any less sincere.

"vocal detractors think the whole thing is a ruse to swindle money out of the gullible."
and I will use my name,not like this camBull thing.

steve Nostradome

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this is something that would change the way we do commercial flights to an environment friendly manner I do not think she likes the large commercial aviation companies despite being the better for the environment

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this is something that would change the way we do commercial flights to an environment friendly manner I do not think she likes the large commercial aviation companies despite being the better for the environment

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What a great design, it looks much more better that the traditional airplane.

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Unknown said...

Darrell...Its Chris from me please.