Flying to New York? Then why not go by luxury airship (but it will take you 37 hours)
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Towering, kite-shaped airships could herald a new era of luxury transport following today's introduction of the Aircruise concept.
Standing 98ft taller than Canary Wharf, packing 330,000 cubic metres of hydrogen gas and capable of lifting 396 tonnes, the Aircruise concept features penthouse apartments, bars and even dizzying glass viewing floors.
Aircruise was created as the antithesis of a hurried, crowded passenger jet. London-based design and innovation company Seymourpowell wanted to rethink transport - on the premise 'slow is the new fast'. It could ferry 100 people from London to New York in a leisurely 37 hours as opposed to the seven it takes now by airplane.
It can fly up to a maximum of 12,000ft but if there are specific areas of interest en route it can drop down to a few hundred feet.
Seymourpowell design director Nick Talbot said: 'The Aircruise concept questions whether the future of luxury travel should be based around space-constrained, resource-hungry, and all too often stressful airline travel.'
He said the Aircruise straddles the line between a cruise ship and a floating hotel.
Mr Talbot explained: 'In a world where speed is an almost universal obsession, the idea of making a leisurely journey in comfort is a welcome contrast.'
Airships had their heyday in the 1930s with the famous German zeppelins. However, new technology has made them increasingly attractive from an environmental standpoint.
Theoretically, it could ferry 100 people from London to New York in a leisurely 37 hours or from Los Angeles to Shanghai in just under four days.
Seymourpowell's early Aircruise designs attracted the attention of Korean giant Samsung Construction and Trading (C&T) - the primary contractor of the tallest man-made structure the Burj Khalifa in Dubai - who commissioned Seymourpowell to produce a detailed computer animation.
Seung Min Kim, design director at Samsung, said: 'This was a dream concept project for us, helping to realise a future of sustainable buildings combined with innovative and luxury lifestyle.
'In an age when environmental impact is a key consideration for architecture, we are keen to extend this vision of the future by searching for solutions that can be realised by 2015 - the year that many futurologists foresee as the turning point for the future.'
Lower decks are 'hung' off these primary supports. Each of the four external envelopes contains modular self-sealing lifting bags, minimising the incidence of bag rupture and ensuring safe flight even with a major external skin rupture.
Hydrogen, the lightest gas, is used as the lifting gas, and is capable of lifting around 1.2Kg per cubic metre of volume. Large Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cells will provide on board power and some drinking water.
These fuel cells are the type typically used in cars. A PEM fuel cell uses hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air to produce electricity.