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Meet the Plimp

Via AVWeb, a company in Seattle is making an old kind of drone:

Two brothers in Seattle, working as Egan Airships, have built a drone that combines features from both fixed-wing aircraft and blimps to create an aircraft that can hover, take off and land vertically, and fly at up to 40 mph. The 28-foot-long aircraft weighs less than 55 pounds and uses a patented streamlined envelope design, rotational wings and an extended tail. It’s powered on both the wings and the tail.

The inflated portion of the Plimp aircraft is filled with helium, which is not flammable, and provides part of the lift, which is supplemented by lift created by the rotational wings. Due to its buoyancy, the company says, the Plimp is more efficient than helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft for surveillance and inspection operations. The aircraft is highly visible for miles, so line-of-sight rules can be adhered to for much greater distances than conventional drones, the company said. Its size and visibility also enhance collision avoidance. The aircraft can be operated remotely by a pilot and flight technician, and does not require a runway or launch/recovery system to operate.

Here's the company's video about the aircraft:

Comments (1) -

  • David Harper

    9/23/2017 6:26:47 AM +00:00 |

    It's good to see airship technology making a comeback, especially in innovative ways like Plimp.  A British company named Hybrid Air Vehicles is developing a helium-filled airship called Airlander 10, which it claims is the world's largest aircraft.  In a pleasing nod to history, the company is based at Cardington Airfield, which was originally the site of the Royal Airship Works, where Britain's earlier airships, including the R101, were developed.

    Arstechnica has a good article on the Airlander 10, including videos of test flights:

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