Worldwide Aeros Corp
Worldwide Aeros Corp is an American manufacturer of airships based in Montebello, California. It was founded in 1994 by the current CEO and Chief Engineer, Igor Pasternak, who came to America from Ukraine.
Worldwide Aeros Corporation is also developing what it calls the "Aeroscraft", a rigid airship with a number of innovative features, the most important of which is a method of controlling the airship's static lift, which can be reduced by pumping helium from the internal gasbags and storing it under pressure: conversely lift can be increased by reinflating the gasbags using the stored gas. The company has received $60 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop the concept, resulting in a prototype named Dragon Dream which was underwent systems tests and some tethered flights in late 2013. This prototype was subsequently damaged when part of the roof of the hangar at the former Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin in which it was constructed collapsed on 7 October 2013.
Igor Pasternak founded a design bureau in Ukraine in 1981 at the Lviv Polytechnic University. The private company Aeros was created in 1986 as a result of Soviet reforms and started producing moored balloons. It moved to the USA in 1994.
In 2005, Aeros was granted the largest contract under DARPA's project Walrus HULA. Project Walrus was not renewed in 2010. However, the Pentagon continued to fund Aeros through the Rapid Reaction Technology Office, contracting with them in 2010 to build a prototype that could demonstrate key technologies. This prototype became known as the "Pelican."
The Pentagon has provided $50 million in funding for the development of the "Pelican" prototype.
Aeros is developing a technology to avoid the need for ballast, which they call "Control of Static Heaviness (COSH)". The main gas bag is inflated with helium to create lift for takeoff, then on landing some of the gas is re-compressed into a storage tank to partially deflate the gas bag and reduce lift.
The COSH system also avoids the need to re-ballast when taking on or dropping off payload, and consequently also the associated ground crew.
The company manufactures tethered kite balloons for a range of uses.
Aeros 40D Sky Dragon
The Aeros 40D "Sky Dragon" is a 50-metre long single pilot non-rigid airship. Only one was built for a Chinese customer. Flight trials and operations were successfully completed in China.
Aeroscraft is the name given to a series of cargo-carrying airships.
The Aeroscraft is a rigid airship, having an internal structure to maintain its shape. As such it can reach otherwise difficult or inaccessible locations and can hover indefinitely at zero airspeed and with a full payload on board. The design incorporates cargo bays that are larger than any current air, truck or rail transport, while the payload capacity is significantly more than the current 16-ton maximum for helicopters.
Propulsion is provided by conventional propellers, and in addition the Aeroscraft design has six downward-pointing turbofan jet engines that assist in vertical take-off and landing. These turbofans, together with the Aeros "COSH" buoyancy control system, make the Aeroscraft capable of taking off and landing vertically without the need for a runway, a ground crew, or external ballast.
Like any airship, the Aeroscraft may be used to transport cargo to remote or difficult locations and to hover over uneven terrain, in both civil and military use. Its operational independence from runways, ground crews or other infrastructure makes it especially suited to military and emergency relief operations. The large cargo bays would allow outsize cargo such as wind turbines or large aerospace parts to be stored internally.
The manufacturer also envisions the delivery of large amounts of commercial merchandise from a centralized location.
Project Pelican and Dragon Dream
Project Pelican was a US Government-funded project to build and test a half-scale prototype of the proposed full-size Aeroscraft, using representative structure and avionics. Named Dragon Dream and having a length of 266 feet (81 m) and design speed of 60 knots (110 km/h), it does not carry a payload. With funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, the first floating took place on January 3, 2013 at Tustin, California, where it hovered indoors at a height of 12 feet for several minutes. The Pentagon has declared that the tests of the Pelican were a "success", with the craft meeting its demonstration objectives. The Pelican was rolled out of its hangar on July 4, 2013. The company sued the Navy for $65 million in 2015 after the hangar structure fell on the aircraft.
Planned full-scale craft
The ML866 model will be 555 feet (169 m) in length, have a payload capacity of 66 tons, a top speed of 120 knots (222 km/h), a range of 3,100 nmi (5,700 km), and a altitude ceiling of 12,000 ft (3,700 m). The larger ML868 model will be 770 feet (230 m) in length and carry 200 tons, with the same speed and altitude ceiling as the ML866.
- Janes guide to Aeros Corp
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- Battlefield Cargo Airship Nears First Flight - Armedforces-Int.com, January 7, 2013
- Tompkins, Joshua. The Flying Luxury Hotel. Popular Science. Accessed on 15-10-2007.
- High-tech cargo airship undergoing tests - Militarytimes.com, January 30, 2013
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- The Lighter Than Air Society (July 15, 2013). "Aeroscraft’s Project Pelican Demonstrator moves outside hangar". blimpinfo.com. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- "Aeros Tests Pelican Variable-Buoyancy Airship". Aviation Week. 3 Jan 2013. Retrieved 15 Jul 2013.
- Niles, Russ (15 March 2015). "Airship Maker Suing Over Hangar Collapse". avweb.com. Aviation Publishing Group. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- Nick Taborek (June 13, 2013). "Worldwide Aeros Aims to Turn Blimps Into Cargo Craft". businessweek.com. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- Worldwide Aeros website
- Worldwide Aeros Corporation official site
- Popular Science article
- Aeroscraft's "WorldwideAeros" Youtube channel.
- "The Aeroscraft airship could change the very concept of flying", Wired