With all the furore about drones today, it's easy to forget that blimps once ruled the skies over sporting events. But one company believes that big airships still have plenty to offer in this area, so has developed an aerial platform that carries broadcast gear and won't wreak havoc should it come crashing to the ground.
Drones might be super agile and boast other useful attributes, but with whirring blades and solid frames they do cut quite a menacing figure. In the eyes of Swiss company Aerotain, what better way to assuage these discomforts down below than with a big inflatable balloon?
Its Skye aircraft uses electric motors for movement and is pumped full of helium to keep it aloft, allowing it a flight time of more than two hours. This would easily outlast even the most powerful of electric drones, but unlike those aircraft, Aerotain says its solution is perfectly safe to touch and fly above crowds.
Skye is customizable and can be inflated to different sizes measuring up to 3 meters in diameter (9.8 ft) depending on the task at hand, and carry broadcast equipment weighing more than 2 kg (4.4 lb). This gear can then stream videos and photos from above the sportsfield to offer spectators an aerial perspective. The aircraft can also be brandished with company names to serve as a floating billboard (kind of like a regular blimp, we guess).
Aerotain is showing off the Skye aircraft at this week's NAB Show in Las Vegas, and imagines it finding uses not just at sporting events, but concerts, conferences and public spaces as well. It tailors every blimp to each customer's individual requests, from helping with the original idea to deploying trained pilots to control the thing once it takes flight. Contact details are available via the source link, and you can see the Skye in action in the video below.