"Lots of things fly without gasbags"
- I'm intrigued by the weird holes in Spark technologies. They build things that seem to be almost the next thing to magic, including artificial intelligence, but seem to have overlooked things like electronic technology or heavier-than-air flight. Do any of them notice birds? (Other than Gil, apparently)
I have no idea what Sparks make artificial brains out of. Very tiny gears?
There aren't even many conveyances that have wheels instead of mechanical legs. It's like Mayans of the Future.
> They can (and do) design all they want, but the problems usually arise when people try to manufacture the parts. Its easy to work out mechanical design kinks using FEA and lots of other cool-acronymed software package, but none of that matters if the parts can't be made without catastrophic flaws. All those neat design programs assume the parts are made "ideally".<snip>
The nice thing about the megaships is that no system need be critical.
Overdesign and redundancy can be indulged in, not to mention using off-the-shelf parts, because you simply compensate for the weight penalty with a slightly bigger envelope.
For instance, propulsion could be multiple electric motor props driven by standard diesel-electric locomotive powertrain instead of the fancy expensive high power-to-weight ratio stuff required in heavier-than-air craft.
One could also go so far as to use a genuine sea-going ship's engine.
They run on Bunker C, an oil so heavy it has to be heated before injection into the engine and is actually cheaper than the crude it's derived from.
Even coal could be used if you didn't insist on too big a fuel bunker.
That's why I see nothing wrong with the stacks on Castle Wulfenbach.
Not only could it be pushed by coal, but being a vacship would make it safe to have open flames on board (and the occasional explosion) and even produce hydrogen for the other ships in the fleet.