Lighter-than-air (LTA) Aircraft Technology Charles R Luffman, Aeronautical Engineer, Specialist in LTA Structures, LTA Solutions

Limited. LTA technology, largely overlooked these days, covers those giant aircraft that primarily use aerostatic lift (buoyancy) to remain airborne instead of aerodynamic lift, as used by aeroplanes and helicopters. The vehicle types involved include: • • • • Airships and Dirigible Balloon Systems – Rigid, Semi-rigid and Non-rigid (Blimps) Free balloons Tethered aerostats (Barrage Balloons, Joy Ride systems, Mobile Platforms, High Reach) Hybrids – Lifting bodies, utilising significant aerodynamic lift

The capabilities of these aircraft are somewhat undervalued in the 21st Century, with the result that the industry barely exists and so their benefits are unavailable. Yet these aircraft, in an age where global warming, noise, pollution, security matters and the effects of disasters need solutions, could provide relatively cheap environmentally friendly new ways that would benefit society. In some cases they also would make possible some things that currently are too difficult or costly to do. Public misconceptions about LTA vehicles abound. At one extreme are those who dismiss the technology based on events that occurred 75 years ago and, at the other extreme, are those who over-estimate their capabilities but under estimate the development costs of such aircraft technology. This lecture will provide an overview of the various types and give a realistic picture of the services LTA technology may be used for. The opportunities and the challenges faced by LTA technology also will be discussed. Charles Luffman has spent over 25 years working as a professional engineer in the airship industry. He has been involved in American, British and German airship projects, and observed the re-birth of this technology. Lecture on Tuesday 8 April 2008 at: 19:00 (7 pm) The Campus North Somerset Council Library, Conferencing and Leisure Services Highlands Lane Locking Castle Weston-super-Mare Somerset BS24 7DX Tel: 01934 427427 Fax 01934 427323 Contact: Paul Hillman Email: Website:

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