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article imageSkylifter saucer airship could lift whole buildings in the future

By Andrew Moran     Oct 5, 2010 in Technology
Sydney - Imagine when the next natural disaster occurs in a remote region of the world. It would take days, maybe even weeks, for relief to get there. However, Skylifter is developing an airship that can lift entire buildings into an area.
An Australian firm, Skylifter, is developing a heavy-duty saucer-shape balloon that can carry more than 150 tonnes and transport it approximately 2,000 km. When the next disaster strikes, this airship could one day lift a hospital and drop it off in the disaster zone.
The 500-foot disc would be filled with lighter-than-air gas and uses aerostatic lift to stay in the sky and cycloidal propellers for thrust. The cockpit hangs below and either one or two people can pilot the ship. It moves up to 50 miles per hour.
“The business focuses on using an aerial crane to transport large self-contained accommodation modules but these aircraft may also be used to transport payloads of equipment, freight and other loads that are currently impossible to pick up and fly,” states the Skylifter’s website. “Further into the future a SkyPalace variant is under consideration, for luxury air-cruising. Beyond this there are many potential applications.”
The company has developed a prototype named Betty that is only 10 feet across and can lift more than a pound of weight.
The Toronto Sun notes that the website was so popular that on Monday morning, it was nearly impossible to visit the webpage because it consistently stated “bandwith limit exceeded.”
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