- View SourceHi All,
Dan Nachbar is, or maybe was, a member of a discussion group, mostly for "what if" posts about the great airships that were generally believed to be what the future of aviation would be like, back when I was a kid.
Dan was the exception because even then, he was trying to bring lighter than aircraft back in a small way— working mostly alone, putting a big envelope together with millions of stitches done on an ordinary looking sewing machine. His blimp is actually more like a foldable dirigible with flexible ribs that open like the ribs of an envelope and close so the envelope and attached ribs can be stored in a garage. If there is an organization for promoting persistence in the face of diversity, Dan should be their new Poster Boy.
Dan Nachbar <dan@...> wrote:
From: Dan Nachbar < dan@...>
Subject: the Personal Blimp makes its maiden flight
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2006 16:28:17 -0500
At 9:40 AM on Friday Oct 27 the much anticipated maiden flight of the first Personal Blimp, the Airship Alberto, took place in Amherst, MA.
Your humble correspondent was at the controls.
This moment was nearly 5 years in the making. It was a great pleasure, and relief, to be aloft at last.
After making a few short hops, I turned the ship over to my co-builder Mike Kuehlmuss. Mike also made a series of short hops and then executed a nice 360 turn. In all, we flew for 20 minutes before the increasing wind made further testing that morning too risky.Some pictures and a short video from the first flight are available on the project website at http://www.personalblimp.com/images.html
The airship handled wonderfully, if I do say so myself.The tail-mounted engine/propeller arrangement worked just as expected. So, for the first time ever, there is a small blimp that can both control its lift (because it uses hot air rather than Helium as a lifting gas) and be easily steered (previous hot air blimps have had very poor steering.)
Flight testing will continue here in Massachusetts until the snow gets too deep. Between flights we're spending our time growing from "two guys in a garage building a blimp" to a bona fide market-oriented start-up venture. So the hard work is really just beginning.
As you know, we've been careful to keep this project low profile until the blimp was flying. Too many aircraft projects have squandered their credibility on premature publicity and press coverage. I'd like to thank you all for helping us to avoid the same fate. However, as they say in the news business, "the lid is now off", and you should feel free to use and share your knowledge of this project as you see fit. In fact, rather than keeping the project quiet, I would appreciate it if you could now help spread the word.
Regards to all,