Solar-Powered Airship to Fly from New York to Paris

John Davis

In the footsteps of Charles Lindbergh (but in a much more comfortable ride), a Spanish company plans to offer rides between New York City and Paris aboard a luxurious airship powered by the sun. reports
that the Turtle Airships vessel will use lightweight photovoltaic cells and will be able to put down on land or water:

SolarAirshipThe first blimp prototype will be propelled in two nontraditional ways. The outside of the ship will be covered with Cadmium-Indium-Germanium (CIG) photovoltaic cells, picked for their their light weight. The cells should generate enough power to move the blimp at around 40 mph in average conditions, or at around 70 horsepower. Meanwhile, a diesel drivetrain will generate the rest of the power, and ideally the designers will look to an adapted hybrid electric model for that. And because blimps fly at low altitudes, they don’t have to deal with problems that plague diesel engines at elevations over 30,000 ft.

The only thing currently keeping this visionary project from flying is funding. But Turtle Airships hopes that will change after the completion of a genuine prototype that will demonstrate the project’s viability to funders. “Our goal in flying this remote control model is to get some video of it onto the Web and hopefully attract some financing that will enable us to move on from there to a genuine, manned, demonstration model of a Turtle Airship,” said one spokesperson.

The only thing that Turtle Airships insists on is not calling it a “blimp.” Guess there’s too many images of the Hindenburg… oh the humanity!