Worldwide Aeros Corp

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Worldwide Aeros Corporation
Airship Manufacturer
IndustryAerospace, Aviation, Defense and Advanced Technologies
Founded1987[1]
FounderIgor Pasternak (Chairman, President & CEO)
Headquarters,
USA
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Igor Pasternak
ProductsAeroscraft,
Sky Dragon Airship, Tactical Aerostats, Early Warning System
DivisionsAeroscraft Corporation North American Defense Advanced Technology Solutions (NADATS)
Websitewww.aeroscraft.com

Worldwide Aeros Corp is an American manufacturer of airships based in Montebello, California. It was founded in 1992 by the current CEO and Chief Engineer, Igor Pasternak, who came to America from Ukraine. It currently employs more than 100 workers.

The company's current products are non-rigids aimed at both the military and commercial markets, including transport, surveillance, broadcasting and advertising. The company's best-selling ship is called the Sky Dragon.[2]

Worldwide Aeros Corp. 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.[3] The company has received $60 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop the concept,[4] resulting in a prototype named Dragon Dream which 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.[5]

History[edit]

In 1981,[6] Igor Pasternak founded a design bureau at Lviv Polytechnic University. He started a private company in 1986 producing tethered balloons for advertising. It moved to the United States in 1994.[2]

After 9/11, the company shifted its focus from advertising to surveillance, as its large ships can hold 1,000 pounds (450 kg) of radar-surveillance equipment. The blimps have such varied uses as monitoring oil pipelines in Mexico to performing surveillance for the Ukrainian government along the Russian border.[2]

In 2005, Aeros was granted the largest contract under DARPA's project Walrus HULA. Project Walrus was not renewed in 2010.[7] 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.[8]

The Pentagon has provided US$50 million in funding for the development of the "Pelican" prototype.[9]

Aeroscraft[edit]

Dragon Dream outside Tustin hangar.

The Aeroscraft is a planned heavy-lift, variable-buoyancy cargo airship featuring an onboard buoyancy management system, rigid structure, vertical takeoff and landing performance, and operational abilities at low speed, in hover, and from unprepared surfaces. It has 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.[10]

Project Pelican and Dragon Dream[edit]

Half-scale prototype "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.[11] Having a length of 266 feet (81 m) and design speed of 60 knots (110 km/h; 69 mph), it does not carry a payload.[12] The company received US$60 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop the concept,[13] resulting in a prototype named Dragon Dream, which underwent systems tests and some tethered flights in late 2013. The first floating took place on January 3, 2013, at the hangar at the former Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin in which it was constructed, where it hovered indoors at a height of 12 feet (3.7 m) for several minutes.[14] The Pentagon has declared that the tests of the Dragon Dream were a "success", with the craft meeting its demonstration objectives.[15] The airship was rolled out of its hangar on July 4, 2013[16][17] and performed its first flight on September 11. It was subsequently damaged when part of the roof of the hangar collapsed on it on 7 October 2013.[18] The company sued the Navy for $65 million in 2015 for the collapse.[19]

Planned full-scale craft[edit]

The company is beginning production of two examples, an ML866 and an ML868 model.[20] A model capable of lifting 500 tons, the ML86X, is also proposed.[12]

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 an altitude ceiling of 12,000 ft (3,700 m). The larger ML868 model will be 770 feet (230 m) in length and carry 250 tons, with the same speed and altitude ceiling as the ML866.[12] The company ultimately plans to build a ML86X with a length of 920 feet (280 m), a height of 215 feet (66 m), and a width of 355 feet (108 m), with the capacity to carry 500 tons.[2]

Aeros is currently seeking US$3 billion to fund the construction of 24 Aeroscraft vehicles, including the 250-ton capacity ML868 model.[21] The CEO has stated that he aims to have a global fleet operating by 2023.[2]

Capabilities[edit]

Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL)[edit]

Because the Aeroscraft is equipped with VTOL capability, it can deliver cargo directly from point-of-origin to point-of-need. Furthermore, other hybrid airships are runway dependent at higher operating weights, but the Aeroscraft does not need a runway, even at full payload. Because of its COSH technology, its computer-controlled virtually-automated directional thrust and station-keeping technology facilitates off and on-loading stores while in hover.[22]

Oversized cargo bay[edit]

The cargo bay is located at the bottom of the aircraft cavity and is loaded by using a pulley system to load the cargo from the ground. At 1.8 million cubic feet, the cargo bay of the largest Aeroscraft design is much larger than that of any existing commercial freight aircraft (including the Boeing 747-8F and the Antonov 124 aircraft).[22]

Design[edit]

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.[23] 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.[12][24]

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.[25] 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.[26]

As with 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.[11][27]

The manufacturer also envisions the delivery of large amounts of commercial merchandise from a centralized location.[28]

Technology[edit]

Control of static heaviness (COSH)[edit]

Aeros has developed 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.[23][25][29]

Worldwide Aeros was awarded a patent for this system in May 2015. It internally ballasts the non-flammable helium into the aircraft’s helium pressure envelopes (HPEs), helping the vehicle manage buoyancy. The HPE units contain and control the compressed helium and allow the overall volume of helium to be reduced or increased, enabling the air vehicle to become heavy or buoyant in a controlled manner. The compression of helium into the HPE’s creates a negative pressure within the Aeroscraft Aeroshell, permitting air-expansion chambers to fill with air, which acts with reduced helium static lift to make the Aeroscraft heavier to compensate for adjustments in load.[30]

Ceiling suspension cargo deployment system[edit]

The Aeroscraft’s cargo system provides the aircraft with unmatched volume and flexibility when deploying cargo to virtually any point on the planet, empowering the aircraft to pick-up and off-load cargo in more efficient ways, even from hover. The internal cargo handling system has been designed to facilitate cargo loading, sorting, and unloading in a more innovative and efficient manner, overcoming pre-deployment requirements for ground handling cargo equipment in austere environments. The system affixes containers and cargo pallets to rails in the fuselage ceiling, rather than on the floor; adjusts cargo positioning to accommodate changes in center of gravity, such as when other cargo is loaded and unloaded; facilitates access to any piece of cargo at any time, eliminating unneeded cargo movements and reducing ground time; and eliminates labor costs with traditional cargo handling and weight-and-balance requirements.[30]

Rigid structure[edit]

This rigid structure has hard points for mounting engines, canards, cockpit, propulsion systems, and other auxiliary systems both inside and outside of the hull.[30]

Landing system[edit]

The Aeroscraft is equipped with landing cushions which allow landing on rough terrain and water, and perform like a hovercraft during taxi by pushing air through them. In addition, the landing cushions have a suction capability which ensures the vehicle stays grounded and in place when not in flight. This allows it to operate in heavier wind conditions.[30]

Vectored thrust engines[edit]

The Aeroscraft is equipped with vectored thrust engines that rotate and allow maneuverability. In addition to aiding helicopter-like vertical take-off and landing capability, the vectored thrust propels the vehicle in forward flight and aids the vehicle with ground-based taxiing.[30]

Low speed control (LSC)[edit]

When in forward flight, the Aeroscraft is controlled by the aerodynamic control surfaces ; however, the low speed control system aids the pilot in lower wind conditions such as during VTOL and hover. The LSC system acts as a rear thruster to propel the vehicle in forward flight, and permits the thrust to be redirected while in hover to help the vehicle maintain desired positioning and orientation.[30]

Fleet[edit]

Models
Dragon Dream ML 866 ML 868 ML 86X
Payload 0 tons 66 tons 250 tons 500 tons
Length 266 ft 555 ft 770 ft 920 ft
Wingspan 96 ft 177 ft 296 ft 355 ft
Height 51 ft 120 ft 183 ft 215 ft
Max speed 60 knots 120 knots 120 knots 120 knots
Cruise speed 40 knots 100 knots 100 knots 100 knots
Range n/a 3,100 nm 5,100 nm 5,100 nm
Altitude ceiling 9,800 ft 12,000 ft 12,000 ft 12,000 ft
Cargo dimensions n/a 220 ft x 40 x 30 380 ft x 61 x 45 455 ft x 74 x 54

[31]

Airships[edit]

  • Aeros 50: Aeros developed its first airships, the ‘Aeros 50'
  • 40A Sky Dragon: Aeros launched airship model ’40A Sky Dragon,’ with increased payload and capabilities
  • 40B Sky Dragon: Aeros developed the ’40B Sky Dragon’ equipped with a fly-by-wire system, and received FAA type certification
  • 40D Sky Dragon: Aeros launched ’40D Sky Dragon,’ to global operations and receives type certification from[clarification needed] the FAA
  • Dragon Dream: Aeros’ successful technology demonstration vehicle for the 66-ton capacity Aeroscraft, ‘Dragon Dream’ takes flight in 2013. Named RAVB as part of its development under Project Pelican for the Department of Defense

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis: IHS Jane's - IHS". www.janes.com.
  2. ^ a b c d e Laskas, Jeanne Marie (2016-02-29). "Helium Dreams". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  3. ^ Sweetman,Bill (15 October 2012). "Pelican Demonstrator Aimed At Airlift". Aviationweek.com. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Worldwide Aeros Aims to Turn Blimps Into Cargo Craft". Bloomberg Businessweek. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Roof failure at Tustin base damages airship". Orange County Register. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  6. ^ "History - Aeros". aeroscraft.com.
  7. ^ Bearman, Josh (July 2, 2012). "A Plan For Airships That Might Finally Take Off". popsci.com. Popular Science. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  8. ^ Sweetman, Bill (October 15, 2012). "Pelican Demonstrator Aimed At Airlift". aviationweek.com. Aviation Week. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  9. ^ Venkataramanan, Madhumita (January 11, 2013). "The Aeroscraft airship could change the very concept of flying". wired.co.uk. Wired Magazine. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  10. ^ Sweetman,Bill (15 October 2012). "Pelican Demonstrator Aimed At Airlift". Aviationweek.com. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  11. ^ a b Gettler, Leon (December 12, 2012). "Interview: Aeros CEO Igor Pasternak". gizmag.com. GizMag. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  12. ^ a b c d "FLEET - Aeroscraft". Aeros. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
  13. ^ "Worldwide Aeros Aims to Turn Blimps Into Cargo Craft". Bloomberg Businessweek. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  14. ^ High-tech cargo airship undergoing tests - Militarytimes.com, January 30, 2013
  15. ^ "DOD: Rigid-Hull Hybrid Air Vehicle Technology Demo Achieved Objectives." InsideDefense.com. 3 July 2013. Accessed 15 July 2013. http://aeroscorp.com/download/i/mark_dl/u/4011780344/4595063755/Inside%20Defense.pdf
  16. ^ The Lighter Than Air Society (July 15, 2013). "Aeroscraft's Project Pelican Demonstrator moves outside hangar". blimpinfo.com. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Aeros Tests Pelican Variable-Buoyancy Airship". Aviation Week. 3 Jan 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
  18. ^ "Roof failure at Tustin base damages airship". Orange County Register. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  19. ^ Niles, Russ (15 March 2015). "Airship Maker Suing Over Hangar Collapse". avweb.com. Aviation Publishing Group. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  20. ^ http://www.aerospace-technology.com/projects/aeroscraft-ml866-rigid-variable-buoyancy-air-vehicle-us/[unreliable source?]
  21. ^ Taborek, Nick (June 13, 2013). "Worldwide Aeros Aims to Turn Blimps Into Cargo Craft". businessweek.com. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  22. ^ a b "Capabilities copy - Aeros". aeroscraft.com. Retrieved 2015-10-27.
  23. ^ a b "Technology - Aeroscraft". Aeros. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  24. ^ Raiciu, Tudor (22 September 2010). "The Largest Transport Helicopters in the World". autoevolution.com.
  25. ^ a b Grabianowski, Ed. "How the Aeroscraft Will Work". How Stuff Works. Archived from the original on 19 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-15.
  26. ^ Jae C. Hong (January 30, 2013). "Aeroscraft: The hi-tech half blimp, half hovercraft". cbsnews.com. CBS/AP. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  27. ^ Fiddian, Paul (2013-01-07). Battlefield Cargo Airship Nears First Flight. Armedforces-Int.com, 7 January 2013. Originally retrieved from http://www.armedforces-int.com/news/battlefield-cargo-airship-nears-first-flight.html. Archived on 2016-03-09 at https://web.archive.org/web/20151222204416/http://www.copybook.com/military/news/battlefield-cargo-airship-nears-first-flight.
  28. ^ Tompkins, Joshua (2008-07-06). The Flying Luxury Hotel. Archived 2008-07-06 at the Wayback Machine. Popular Science. Retrieved on 2007-10-15 from http://www.popsci.com/popsci/whatsnew/18ac893302839010vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html.
  29. ^ "Aeroscraft - Aviation Space India". aviationspaceindia.com.
  30. ^ a b c d e f "Technology copy - Aeros". aeroscraft.com. Retrieved 2015-10-27.
  31. ^ "Fleet copy - Aeros". aeroscraft.com.

External links[edit]