Sorry, it’s a let-down

Airships represent a branch of the aerospace industry that has always struggled to find a role.


Your item about the airship industry (Blow for UK airships) seems to be a typical story of UK innovation racing ahead of the market.


Airships represent a branch of the aerospace industry that has always struggled to find a role. Even the giant Zeppelins of the ‘golden age’ of airships were seen as an impressive curiosity rather than the air vehicles of the future, and the Hindenberg disaster did little to help their image.


As your article makes clear, engineers around the world are now giving serious thought to the use of airships in a variety of roles, including telecommunications platforms for which they seem ideally suited.


Their use as cargo carriers seems less obvious. The essence of air freight transport is speed and responsiveness – both of which the world’s aircraft cargo fleets are well equipped to offer.


I cannot see how airships could operate easily in and out of major airports, so they would need their own docking facilities. These would probably be ‘off the beaten track’ in terms of road and rail links and therefore even less attractive than commercial freight vehicles.


It would be great to see airships thriving again in a general role, but I think the type of specialist telecoms and military uses currently under investigation in the US are probably the way forward.


Alan Jones


Medway


Kent