Blimps for Heavy Lifting

Airships are really fun! We haven’t looked at them in a long time though, last time airships were mentioned here was in 2006. Well, there has been some development since then and now a company has designed an airship for really heavy lifting.

SkyHook International announced Tuesday that it will build the Jess Heavy Lifter (JHL-40) in conjunction with aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co.

The JHL-40 takes elements of a blimp and a helicopter to lift up to 40 tonnes in one load and travel up to 320 kilometres without refuelling. It will have a top speed of 70 knots.

“The perception is ‘Oh, it’s going to blow up. It’s a Hindenburg or something like that.’ And it’s going to be our job to educate people as to what this thing is. You can’t get around the fact it’s a large envelope full of helium, and it does look a little bit like a balloon,” said the aviation engineer and former helicopter pilot.

“It’s a blimp on steroids because it’s got more than 20,000 horsepower on it and it’s a serious working machine.”

The company said that unlike blimps, the airship is neutrally buoyant.

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