Reed Gleason and Bill Arras are on joint a mission to research and develop
small helium airships for personal use. The goal is to be able to
travel the world by airship, using the wind as the primary means of locomotion,
much as a non-powered balloon does. Power will be used sparingly
to adjust the flight route, as well as for local exploration before drifting
Propulsion will be a combination of human power ala pedaling as well as gas engines, turning a propeller. The concept is a modern day version of barnstorming, dropping in on people and places whenever the spirit moves the pilot to do so or whenever conditions dictate.
Eventually they plan to design and build a larger airship capable of
carrying two persons and flying in a much broader range of weather conditions.
The next ship will also have gasoline engines for power in addition to
having a pedal option, which, like the White Dwarf, will allow slow, silent
AIRSHIP PERFORMANCE GOALS
To design and build a two-place helium airship with a combination of
human and gas and/or electric propulsion. Desired capabilities are
to be able to
1.) maintain a cruising speed of at least 25 mph for min. two hours,
2.) attain a vertical speed of at least 300 fpm,
3.) have a 10,000' vertical range,
4.) take off and land vertically,
5.) achieve neutral buoyancy at any point during flight,
6.) require no ground crew and
7.) require no hangar.
Each of these goals, when attained, will be 'firsts' with small helium
airships. The closer we get to achieving these goals in combination
in the same airship, the more capable it will be of allowing us to realize