Considering it was filled with highly flammable hydrogen, in retrospect it was clearly a dangerous way to travel. Today dirigibles are niche to say the least, being used occasionally for advertising, surveillance and getting to remote places.
But that might be about to change as people start to rethink the potential for the airship as a sustainable, environmentally friendly method of transporting cargo. One advocate of the dirigible is cyclist hero Graeme Obree, who Humans Invent has followed over the last year as he attempts to break the human-powered land speed record.
Most of the cost of a mango is paying for the aviation fuel that gets it here
In a rare moment not talking about bikes, we learnt of Obree’s fascination with airships. Today’s ships mostly use non-flammable helium, removing a significant danger, and Obree believes they have the potential to cut carbon emissions dramatically.
Interestingly, this year Canadian company Solar Ship announced they are building three fossil-free, solar hybrid airships that combine photovoltaic technology with helium, the largest of which will be able to carry 30 tonnes.
Do you agree with Obree, are airships the way forward? Watch our film of Obree’s call to arms above. Leave your comments below and we will pass them on.