Mel Tisdale
What a silly species we are. We know that helium is finite and stocks are depleting fast, yet do nothing to restrict its use. If the only applications were frivolous ones, such as advertising like this, then no harm is done. See:
But that is not the case. Helium is essential for some medical equipment, MRI scanners being prominent. When the helium runs out, such equipment will cease to be available to the medical profession for diagnosis and thus treatment of serious conditions.
Future generations are really going to love us. We have used all the cheap oil, leaving them only the expensive stuff; have failed miserably to deal with climate change, leaving them (and many of us) with conditions that will almost certainly be unbearable exacerbated by a completely inadequate food supply. If that list were not bad enough, we continue to deplete helium in order to advertise a particular brand of tyre instead of protecting valuable medical equipment. Sad, very sad.
Jeff Olney
We're not running out of helium. Re-read the article you posted. We're running out of "cheap" helium. Helium is extracted from natural gas. I would not call natural gas "finite."
I think hydrogen is a viable alternative to helium; especially if helium seems to be limited and hydrogen is not.
The cause of the Hindenberg is still unknown (many theories though). I believe that with newer technology, one could build a Hindenberg type airship and still be able to use hydrogen as the lifting gas (perhaps have it combined with an inert gas to make it less flamable?).
I think the new semi-rigig Goodyear airship is cool. I am hoping it will lead to rigid airships that people can take for air cruises.
In what sense is this radical Goodyear re-engineering? The design appears to be little more than a license built Zeppelin NT. It's the same length and passenger capacity as the Zeppelin NT07 and visually identical to the Zeppelin judging from the photograph. Goodyear even buys the tail assembly from Zeppelin.
Seeing this ship in the sky won't be a novelty in the San Francisco Bay Area. Airship Ventures was selling sightseeing rides around the region on a Zeppelin NT07 from 2008 to 2012, but the exorbitant ticket cost eventually doomed the operation.
BTW, blimps, semi-rigid and rigid airships are all "dirigibles".
There's a wiki that says Goodyear contracted with the Zeppelin Company in 2011 for the purchase of three N07-101 airships with planned operation to being in 2014. That suggests that the only construction that Goodyear could manage was to assemble the Zeppelin kit.
I would like to know more about the engines.
Goodyear just ordered 3 Zeppelin-NT
@ Jeff - What would you call natural gas then? As you say it, the only option available after finite is infinite, which everybody knows is not the case (unless you've got some inside information on star mining to share with the world).
@ BigWarpGuy - How would "less flamable" work? Would that make the passengers less dead if something similar to the Hindenburg happened again?
Jay Finke
Is there a single person out there that would set foot in a hydrogen filled dirigible ? Not me man ! Something about being cooked alive. I think it would make for popular TV though, everybody would be glued to the screen, waiting for that single small static spark, to relive the past again.
@ Mel Tisdale
The cost of extracting helium from the atmosphere is not prohibitive it is just more than extracting helium from natural gas sources.