An Infinity Pool-Equipped Spy Blimp Will Be the World's Largest Aircraft
All hail the monstrosity that is the Airlander.
It’s probably not, but its manufacturers are banking on someone wanting a monstrosity that’s 60 feet longer than a Boeing 747, can fly around unmanned for three weeks at a time, and has no particular specialized purpose.
Indeed, it’s not exactly clear what the Airlander will be used for when (if?) it's ready for its first flight in 2016. Hybrid Air Vehicles—the Airlander’s manufacturer—says “it can achieve just about anything,” which might just be code for “this doesn’t really excel at anything and it costs $50 million.”
The ship can hold 50 tons of cargo at any given time, which means it’d be perfect for transporting humanitarian aid, if that aid needs to be delivered at a blistering 100 mph. After that, it can be “reconfigured” to “carry 7-8 tons of surveillance equipment [to] fly for 4-5 days at a time,” according to Mike Durham, technical director of the project.
Then it can be changed to hold a whole lot of people, like it’ll do on its maiden flight, a party that will feature members of Iron Maiden (get it?) and some other celebrities. The company is even considering creating versions of the ship with infinity pools, according to the Telegraph. So, essentially it’s a party / spy / cargo blimp for people who think swimming on the ground is so passé. They better hope the NSA wants to have a baller holiday party.
All joking aside, the Airlander does have a few things going for it—it achieves its lift with inert helium, so it’s more environmentally friendly than a typical airship. It can also land without a runway, which means that humanitarian aid idea isn’t so farfetched, assuming it can land near a natural disaster site. Maybe I’m wrong. If so, you can scream “I told you so” from your infinity pool-equipped spy blimp.