SUN’S RAYS TO DRIVE Aerial Landing Field (Oct, 1934)

SUN’S RAYS TO DRIVE Aerial Landing Field

RECENT experiments in the conversion of the sun’s rays into electric power have led to an unusual idea in aerial equipment. It is a dirigible that not only would get its power from the sun but also provide space for a landing field in the air.

The ordinary cigar-shaped dirigible would in effect have a slice taken from the upper half of the gas bag. This would provide a large deck on which could be mounted solar photo cells, an airplane runway, and a hangar. Planes could land on the dirigible, floating over the sea, to refuel for trans-ocean passenger service.

Another unusual feature of this design, in addition to the landing field, is the use of sun rays to power the motors of the dirigible. Scientists estimate that the sun can develop as much as 86,300 kilowatts or 115,000 horsepower per hour in an area of a square mile. Photo cells convert the sun’s energy into electricity. When this can be done on a practical basis, the roof of an ordinary house can be used to develop electricity for the home.

  1. Gilo says: August 28, 20074:39 am

    Coolest. Idea. Ever.

  2. Thundercat says: August 28, 20079:16 am

    Uh-oh. Its cloudy today and my airfield floated away. 🙁

  3. jayessell says: August 28, 200710:45 am

    1) Nick Fury approves.

    2) What was the efficiency of those photovoltaics? 3%? 1/2%?

    3) From the article:
    When this can be done on a practical basis, the roof of an ordinary house can be used to develop electricity for the home.
    OK, we’ll accept this one.

  4. Rick Auricchio says: August 28, 20071:12 pm

    What a wonderful idea. It’s difficult enough flying from airports with wind and weather conditions. Here they propose the idea that this can be done atop a flying blimp.

    Since blimps travel more slowly than ships, they would not be able to create any relative wind over the deck (which is what speeding aircraft carriers do). As a result, the runway length atop the blimp would have to be similar to those on the ground.

  5. Charlie says: August 28, 20071:22 pm

    I don’t know a whole lot about aviation, but Idon’t think they’d have to be any longer. For landings you could use a cable arrestor like a carrier. For take offs wouldn’t you just need enough speed for a little forward momentum? Couldn’t you just fall off of the end? I mean it’d probably be pretty scary for a while, but it’s not like you’ve got the ocean 100 feet below you, you’d have plenty of time falling to build up speed 🙂

    That said I still think the whole thing is insane.

  6. Ninjalicious says: August 28, 20071:29 pm

    Too bad blimps and dirigibles never really took off. Superior technology from an efficiency perspective, since all lift is essentially free – you only need to push yourself around. But Helium is effin expensive.

    I think the Hindenburg kind of put it out of peoples minds. We could still use hydrogen gas – its actually far harder to ignite than you with think – given that we are all driving cars with a much more flammable hydrocarbon fuel (with an energy equivalence of 5-6 sticks of dynamite at least).

  7. Stannous says: August 28, 200710:32 pm

    The landing strip is superfluous- the airships Akron and Macon both had interior hangers and carried their own aircraft which took off from cranes and were retrieved with hooks.
    I am surprise though at the early appearnce of solar cells, even theoretical ones:
    The photovoltaic effect was first recognised in 1839 by French physicist Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel. However, it was not until 1883 that the first solar cell was built, by Charles Fritts, who coated the semiconductor selenium with an extremely thin layer of gold to form the junctions. The device was only around 1% efficient.
    (those mentioned must have been much less efficient)
    Russell Ohl patented the modern solar cell in 1946 (U.S. Patent 2,402,662 , “Light sensitive device”).

  8. glindsey says: August 29, 20079:10 am

    Is anybody else reminded of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow?

  9. Currahee says: August 30, 20074:26 pm

    As a kid, I was absolutely addicted to a series of comic books called “Blackhawks”.

    It was about a bunch of former WWII flying aces from all over the world who came together to fight evil and have fun with the very latest jet air craft of the day!

    One of the “Evil Geniuses” they battled had a flying air craft carrier exactly like the one here. It was equipped with a “cloud generator” for stealth!

    Thanks for a pleasant memory!

  10. Rick Auricchio says: August 30, 20078:08 pm

    Charlie, I hadn’t considered an arresting cable.

    And I like your idea for takeoffs. “Ok, everyone, here we go…AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!”

  11. KHarn says: March 9, 20089:37 am

    “Since blimps travel more slowly than ships, they would not be able to create any relative wind over the deck (which is what speeding aircraft carriers do).”

    Sorry, Rick, but airships were faster than you think. The L-series (Which is like the blimps operated by Goodyear today) could do 45 mph, while the larger zeppelins like the Hindenburg and the Macon could do 75mph.

  12. Insane Genius says: March 12, 200812:02 am

    I bet if Germany had won either of the World Wars, and became the World Leader, things might have been bad at first …

    But, in a relatively short amount of time, this world might actually have become better.

    I can imagine Wonderful creations and inventions of every sort, being implemented into everyday society. I think Blimps and Airships would have came back with alot of major improvements.

    I bet that picture of the floating air base would be a reality today.

    And who knows, maybe even whole Islands floating upon the skies as well as man-made ones added to the seas.

    Germany was packed full of incredible inventors and unimaginable projects.

    Hitler himself, although evil in the common eye, may have led the world to some truly wonderful things.

    He strived for inventions and creations that many would consider insane, and absurd, and some even impossible.

    And perhaps even slavery and racism would have decreased just as much, if not even more so, eventually.

    I mean, compare England with the U.S. … the average black man in England is not a slave, and has little ill-will towards “the white devil”, in comparison to the average black man in the U.S.A.

    The English Black man is treated as equal right ? (correct me if I’m wrong)

    The average U.S. Black man now is treated different than everyone else in many ways.

    They have advantages to get hired to good paying jobs more so than the average white man because of a strange fear the companies have of being racist or perhaps lawsuits being filed if they don’t hire at least one black individual. But percentage wise, in comparison to population, they have a better chance of getting hired due to such odd racism. People actually become Racist because they don’t realise what Racism means.

    Racism is treating a person or creature differently because of their race, including but not limited to skin color, eye color, speech impediments, size, beauty or ugliness, sexual orientation, sex- female or male, past actions taken by individuals (lack of forgiveness), labels, job title, pretty much everything and anything even down to the car you drive …

    Typecasting in some way … it all boils down to Judgement Systems.

    Racism was originally meant as a specific form of Judgement Typecast. Different treatment based upon race. Most Midgets don’t like being called that … and for good reason .. there used to really be other races on this Earth. They are one such race .. their Pureblood race were formerly known as Dwarves. And yes, there used to be Elves too, but they were so similar in shape and form to humans, and humans had the more dominant genes, so they were basically bred with humans to the point of extinction. Orcs too existed in the far past. Scientists can only measure so far back. They don’t know what really happened. Orcs were various races much like Cromagnon man … CaveMen are NOT our missing links, but other Extinct races that once existed. Each race was created seperately, whether by evolution or by God, it matters not. But, as all races shared the Earth, they all became fairly similar, through breeding and killing with and of other races.

    Black, White, Chinese, German, etc. all come from mixtures of previous races that once existed at one time. In the ages of the past, technology didn’t get past the medieval era of our time frame.
    And because of that, people grouped together, and those mixture of races began to change based upon environmental factors of the area they lived in. So, some races of today, may be newer than others.
    But, basically, that is why Elves don’t exist now, and many relatively unknown creatures no longer exist, and Dwarves are no longer pure-blooded.

    My point in all this, hell I don’t know, maybe we are all different individually anyways, and yet all the same too, and should not judge others too harshly.

    And we especially shouldn’t based simply on skin color or nationality.

    One day, we may all be cobbled together into one race again.

    And then spread back to form new different races, that will probably be even less different than white is from black.

    Yes, I am Insane, but I know hidden wisdom that others can not see.

  13. Insane Genius says: March 12, 200812:19 am

    And Yes, I know what you all are going to say, but Racism is not just the Negative.

    It is different treatment based on Race. It doesn’t have to be good or bad, just different from how you would treat a “normal” person of your mind’s view.

    Personally I don’t even judge Hitler, I admire him in some ways and Despise him in others, but if he were alive today, I would treat him how I would like to be treated. Until he got up in my face, or pissed me off in some way, then I’d beat the ever lovin’ shit out of him. Alot of you might find that odd, but keep in mind that things are not as they seem and that certain energies exist beyond our comprehension. I’ll say no more on that subject.

    I’m definitely not perfect, not even close, but I think of myself as enlightened in a few ways.

    I do like to ramble on and see what people say, usually when I’m tired and don’t know what I’m saying … but it’s all in good fun … lol .. just look at some of the blogs out there. lmfao

  14. Sane Genius says: April 8, 200912:36 am

    Okay… *big breath now*

    First off, yes pre-WWII Germany had some pretty neat stuff, this being that they were severely limited in creating the more ‘conventional’ forms of gadgetry that the rest of the world took for granted at that time. This forced them to play around with airships, super gliders (engined aircraft were considered a possible fighter aka threat), and many different strange weapons (the electric ray gun, the sound gun, the guided missle, etc etc) far far far before their times.

    However, neat and wonderful these things were, you have to realize that 90% of the “wonderful” was made as either secret weapons projects or propaganda devices in order to farther fuel the Nazi political movement.

    The thought goes however, that once Germany had taken over along with the other nations which had pacts with them, who says that all the great propaganda machines of the “future” would even have been needed? You don’t need to win over what you have already taken by force…

    That is all, because I don’t think racism has anything to do with fantastic airships =P

  15. Sane Genius says: April 8, 200912:47 am

    BTW, this machine is completely possible with the technologies of today, it would also make an amazing power station if not used as an airport.

    Think about it, you could anchor tens of hundreds of these things to drift in the breaze above your cities, not obstructing anything more than a cloud (since the airtraffic could be funneled to larger airports or onto the ships themselves). From that position the electricity could be run down tethers to feed the city.

    The matter of Helium Vs Hydrogen is obsolete as new ways to create just as much lift off of steam are coming into the publics eyes. And even if one of the other lifting gasses was used, there is no need to vent it as the airship wouldn’t have to change altitude.

    I’m not arguing the practicality of it, just the issue of it being possible.

  16. Toronto says: April 8, 200912:29 pm

    Sane: Where’s that transparent copper? (Yes, I know there are much more efficient solar cells today.)

    My downtown location gets the sun blocked by the tall buildings badly enough. I don’t want to think about how depressing it would be with a permenant “cloud” over it.

    And cooling/heating cycles don’t *require* venting, but can cause it. Using exhaust heat recovery and a balloonette heating lift balancing system might be practical on an airship of this size (if it weren’t for the electric drive.)

    Nope – doesn’t pass the practicallity sniff test to me.

  17. Doc Thompson says: October 28, 200911:48 am

    This obviously is where Stan Lee and Jack Kirby got the idea for Nick Fury and the Agents of Shields Hellicarrier.I knew it was someones old idea

  18. voodoo says: March 20, 20101:59 am

    what does racism have to do with dirigibles? hitler hated blacks as much as any white man in america during his era. racism isnt simple prejudice. it is a power game. black folk were dehumanized in order to support the justification of economic system of slavery. read it its in the constitution of the U.S. all this prejudice bullsh*t is just that, bullsh*t. racism in america is about economics, and imperialist white supremacy. regardless of whether you feel superior or not thats what its all about.

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