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.