Fly on your way like an eagle or some monstrous whale eagle hybrid
March 1, 2014 6:52 AM   Subscribe

Not content with piloting Ed Force One during their most recent world tour, Iron Maiden lead singer and certified airline pilot Bruce Dickinson has been funding the construction of the world's longest airplane, the Hybrid Air Vehicle: part plane, part airship. He also plans to fly it around the world. One neat little detail: it's being build in the same hangar that once housed the unfortunate R101 airship. That one used hydrogen to keep it buoyant; this new airship uses helium. Also because it is actually slightly heavier than air, it is in fact a Led Zeppelin.
posted by MartinWisse (39 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
it is in fact a Led Zeppelin.

How dare you.
posted by codswallop at 7:03 AM on March 1, 2014 [10 favorites]


I want one.

Too bad it will be used to deliver mining and drilling equipment to the last remote places. Sigh.
posted by spitbull at 7:05 AM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


I wish them the best of luck, but my bet is it will have the usual problem that affects airships; not fast enough to compete with planes, not enough cheap payload to compete with ships/trucks and not enough weather resistance to compete with anything.
posted by Segundus at 7:06 AM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


At last, the boobwhale has a mate.
posted by The otter lady at 7:20 AM on March 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


Rigid. Air. Ship.
posted by griphus at 7:21 AM on March 1, 2014 [5 favorites]


An M1 Abrams weighs 61 tons. No wonder the Army lost funding, would need massive fleets of puffer fish filling the sky. But as an elite cruise ship it's hard to beat.
posted by stbalbach at 7:31 AM on March 1, 2014


The Cardington Air Hangers are just down the road from me, and have recently been having a major overhaul. Perhaps this is why.
posted by The River Ivel at 7:35 AM on March 1, 2014


What a trooper. He's playing with madness here, though. I'm at a losfer words.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:43 AM on March 1, 2014 [15 favorites]


Behold the power of a fully operational giant flying espresso bean!
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:46 AM on March 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


How many wasted years have gone into this project? I hope this doesn't turn into some kind of flight of Icarus.
posted by Sternmeyer at 7:48 AM on March 1, 2014 [11 favorites]


Too bad it will be used to deliver mining and drilling equipment to the last remote places.

To tame a land, you might say.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:51 AM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think Bruce might want to revisit the lyrics of Flight of Icarus one more time...

Scream for me avionics engineers,
SCREAM FOR ME!!!
posted by Renoroc at 8:04 AM on March 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


Look at you. Sailing through the air majestically. Like an eagle. Piloting a blimp.
posted by indubitable at 8:15 AM on March 1, 2014 [5 favorites]


Aces high ?

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Pilot ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:41 AM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've always wondered why there aren't hybrid heavier-than-air-dirigible-thingies.


People should know never to question Bruce Dickinson
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:55 AM on March 1, 2014


I'm waiting for an explanation as to why there's not a fucking HUGE Eddie painted on the side. Wasted opportunity I'd say.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:59 AM on March 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


It looks like a butt.
posted by angerbot at 9:10 AM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Visiting the Cardington sheds in person is one of my few life goals.
posted by sonascope at 9:14 AM on March 1, 2014


the world's longest airplane

Air limo, huh?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:23 AM on March 1, 2014


Something about it reminds me of Total Recall but I can't quite put my fingers on it.
posted by Renoroc at 9:43 AM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


Visiting the Cardington sheds in person is one of my few life goals.

Spoilers: it's like being in a really large shed. But, like, not a cool shed, with a little stove and tea. One of those corrugated iron sheds where people store boring stuff like lawnmowers and crap bicycles, except everything is way bigger so the bicycle is Bruce Dickinson's airship and the lawnmower is Rod Stewart's tour stage.
posted by The River Ivel at 9:46 AM on March 1, 2014 [11 favorites]


666 is the tail number of The Beast!
posted by KingEdRa at 10:37 AM on March 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think he should add a light emitting diode display to the outer skin, to make it a true LED Zeppelin. Then he could do Blade Runner cosplay.



He could also make it read "Ice Cube's a Pimp."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:25 AM on March 1, 2014 [13 favorites]


Blimpin' ain't easy, but it's necessary.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 2:52 PM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was never especially an Iron Maiden fan, but I certainly gained new respect for the group and especially Bruce Dickinson after seeing their tour documentary Iron Maiden: Flight 666 - - highly recommended.
posted by fairmettle at 3:15 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Stop it! All this talk of zeppelins must be giving Harry Turtledove a boner.
posted by jonp72 at 3:33 PM on March 1, 2014


Why don't you like Harry Turtledove?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:50 PM on March 1, 2014


I wish them the best of luck, but my bet is it will have the usual problem that affects airships; not fast enough to compete with planes, not enough cheap payload to compete with ships/trucks and not enough weather resistance to compete with anything.

In a post-oil world (or super-expensive-oil world) something like this might be competitive, although a 70% gain in efficiency over current cargo jets (as claimed) isn't very impressive. If it used 90-95% less fuel then we might be talking.
posted by MillMan at 4:09 PM on March 1, 2014




If it crashed at sea with a priest on board, would it be a... holy diver?
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:13 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


If the priest crashed it on purpose, he'd be a Judas Priest.
posted by homunculus at 6:14 PM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


If it crashed at sea with a priest on board, would it be a... holy diver?

Depends. Are we talking midnight sea here, or just your ordinary kind of sea?
posted by Wolfdog at 7:28 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


My friend's father, when he was very young, actually saw the R101 sail across the English night sky.
posted by ovvl at 7:55 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


"He's playing with madness here."

When my wife was in the car with me and that song came on the radio, she was convinced he was singing " can I play with matches?", which is plausible if you think about it...
posted by wittgenstein at 8:42 PM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


Depends. Are we talking midnight sea here, or just your ordinary kind of sea?

The sea of madness. The sun don't shine on the sea of madness.

(Yes, the sea of madness is in your butt.)
posted by The World Famous at 8:42 PM on March 1, 2014


Needs helium to fly equipment to helium mines.
posted by surplus at 7:17 AM on March 2, 2014


Bruce Dickinson?
That's a lot of cowbell.
posted by Mr.Me at 9:27 AM on March 2, 2014


(The other Bruce Dickinson.)
posted by dhartung at 3:16 PM on March 2, 2014


So if it crashes in the ocean while Bruce Dickinson is flying it, will he start singing "Tears of the Dragon?"
posted by robtf3 at 7:15 PM on March 3, 2014


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