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Aeroscraft - Flying Cruise Ship

Summary:
Email claims that a huge blimp-like aircraft called the Aeroscraft may become the airborne equivalent of seagoing luxury cruise ships.(Full commentary below).



Status:
Such aircraft are being developed but are not yet operational

Example:(Submitted, November 2006)
Subject: Aeroscraft

Would you fly on this?

Aeroscraft

Image credit: John MacNeill

Even though the Aeroscraft dwarfs the largest commercial airliners, it requires less net space on the ground than any plane because it doesn't need a runway. The airship takes off and lands like a helicopter: straight up and down.

This is not a Blimp. It's a sort of flying Queen Mary 2 that could change the way you think about air travel. It's the Aeroscraft, and when it's completed, it will ferry pampered passengers across continents and oceans as they stroll leisurely about the one-acre cabin or relax in their well-appointed staterooms.

This is an abridged example. The text and images in this email forward were taken from a Popular Science article.
Read the full article




Commentary:
This information about a new blimp-like aircraft called the "Aeroscraft" circulates via email and online. At first glance, the claims in the message may seem a bit far fetched. In fact, it might be tempting to dismiss the message as just one more piece of email nonsense. However, a little research indicates that aircraft like the one described in the message are indeed being developed, although they are not yet operational.

The images and text in the email were apparently taken from an article published in the "What's New" section of the Popular Science website. The craft are being developed by Worldwide Aeros Corporation, a California based aircraft manufacturing company. Information on the company website notes:
The company's operations involve the research, development, production, operation and marketing of a complete family of Aeros-branded air vehicles used in government and commercial applications. These include non-rigid FAA Type Certified Aeros 40D Sky Dragon Airships, Advanced Tethered Aerostatic Systems and New Type Rigid Air Vehicle - Aeroscraft.

The Aeroscraft will have a range of possible applications, both civil and military:
Characterized by its oversized payload bay, the Aeroscraft is a natural configuration to be adapted to luxury tour travel, allowing an unordinary space allotment to each passenger. For the same reason the craft can easily be adapted to a cost effective low density cargo or perishable goods hauler.

Unlike a blimp, the Aeroscraft is not lighter than air. It's design combines technology from both conventional aircraft and dirigibles. Lift is achieved by helium gas as well as the Aeroscraft's aerodynamic shape and aft and forward fins. The craft is driven by massive rear propellers and take-off and landing is controlled by six turbofan jet engines.

The sheer size of the aircraft will make them comparable to luxury liners with room aplenty for passenger staterooms, bars, restaurants and other amenities currently offered on ocean-going cruise vessels. Alas, at this stage, the Aeroscraft is still a prototype. It will be several years before such craft are ready for paying passengers. The company estimates that the first Aeroscraft will be completed by 2010. However, development is well underway. Another type of aircraft being manufactured by the company, the Aeros 40D Sky Dragon Airship, was rolled out in 2006. The 40D Sky Dragon Airship entered its flight testing phase in August 2008.

References:
The Flying Luxury Hotel
Worldwide Aeros Corporation
Aeros: OUR COMPANY
Aeroscraft
How the Aeroscraft Will Work
First Aeros 40D Sky Dragon Airship Roll-Out Ceremony
Aeros 40D Sky Dragon airship MSN 21 begins flight test activities

Last updated: 15th April 2009
First published: 29th November 2006

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen