Questions tagged [airships]

For questions involving large flying objects that are lighter than air.

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36
votes
14answers
9k views

How could a sail powered airship work?

I've been wondering if it's possible for an airship to fly by passive means - specifically, no engines (steam or otherwise). I'm thinking in terms of a world where lighter-than-air gas (and it's ...
35
votes
6answers
5k views

How could steampunk civilizations get lifting gas?

Steampunk airships typically use either helium or hydrogen as a source of lift (depending on the world). However, the source of the gas is often not fully explained, or even not mentioned at all. ...
31
votes
15answers
2k views

What geographic characteristics for a world would be needed/be most beneficial for airships to be a common mode of transportation?

Airships are a hallmark of countless steampunk and dieselpunk constructed universes. Of course, in our world, they were around for a short while. I want to know what effects geographical circumstances ...
25
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7answers
3k views

How can I make steampunk airships less flimsy?

I've been thinking about a steampunk style world where a lot of the transport is done with balloon powered airships. Obviously there are conflicts and I'm trying to think of ways these craft could be ...
22
votes
17answers
2k views

What would make airships viable economically?

Imagine you have any kind of conditions for the world, any time period — assuming airships are working on laws of physics (no steampunkish "deus ex machina" garbage), what would make an abundance of ...
21
votes
18answers
4k views

Quick destruction of a helium filled airship?

I am writing a steampunk novel and am working on a scene where an enemy quickly overwhelms and destroys a US airship. The enemy has flying gyro sleds and a large airship of their own that is armed ...
21
votes
11answers
5k views

Airborne 18th century soldier: Feasible?

All right, in this fiction there are airships, they're not like blimps or zeppelins, they're much more like the fantasy-esque "age of sail ship that floats", cool and dandy. With their creation, some ...
20
votes
10answers
3k views

What types of things could go wrong in an airship during a storm?

In the scene of one of my stories, an airship gets hit by a violent storm. Apart from exploding (which isn't helpful to the main character), what other things could go wrong that would be fixable? ...
18
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13answers
5k views

Comfortable way of entering and exiting Airships anywhere at will

Imagine that the taboo around Airships and dirigibles is broken. Besides some cargo, passenger and tourism Airships there's one company that focuses on the super-rich by selling what are essentially ...
17
votes
10answers
3k views

How to make the era of airships last longer?

Yet another airship question. We now all know that it would be impossible to build an airship of any practical size or effectiveness before the 19th century, and that once a civilisation is advanced ...
16
votes
11answers
1k views

What sort of rules / limitations could govern and affect a crystal resource that is both anti-gravity and energy-producing?

I apologise if this is rather vague but I'm struggling with creating a concept that would allow a Victorian (steampunk) civilisation to have antigravity ships and floating islands through the use of a ...
16
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4answers
6k views

How fuel-efficient are airships?

I'm putting together a steampunk novel, and I'm trying to plot out the course the main characters are taking. Let's say I have a small airship, meant for a crew of half a dozen to a dozen. Let's say ...
14
votes
8answers
3k views

Medieval flying castle propulsion

One day, on the faraway world of not-medieval-Europe, someone discovered that a type of stone could be made to float. A decade or two later, there are flying castles, built out of and/or on a ...
14
votes
10answers
2k views

Realistic Airships

I'm looking for an answer concerning a steam powered airship. The steam is generated via coal burning. The ship is propelled by an X amount of steam engine propellers (think Besler steam plane). The ...
13
votes
14answers
3k views

Airship lifeboats, design alternatives

At sea lifeboats are a pretty straightforward affair, a small seaworthy boat that one uses to get away from a doomed vessel. In space the same basic principles apply although the requirements are far ...
13
votes
5answers
4k views

How might airships be made using 18th century technology?

Using only what is available in the 18h century, across any culture, what might airships look like in such a culture, assuming that an inventor used the resources he had to create one.
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Smallest possible size for a manned airship

As far as I know airships, specifically rigid-airships, do not have an upper size limit other than what is required by practicality and how willing you are to build gigantic airship sheds. But one ...
13
votes
15answers
2k views

Armament for airships filled with non-flammable gas

In my Fantasy/sci-fi universe there exists a lighter than air gas, that is non-flammable, while having density similar or even smaller than hydrogen (I will post some questions related to this gas in ...
12
votes
9answers
3k views

LED light or heating element?

To generate heat electrically inside a balloon for lift would a 20 watt LED light or a 20 watt heating element make more heat to lift a small closed hot air balloon droid and solar cell? Having a ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

General airship questions: largest possible size?

Airships are cool, and I would love to use them and see them used outside of steampunk a lot more. One key aspect of Airships is that they seem to have the square cube law reversed. For other things ...
12
votes
4answers
731 views

How do I map aerial trade routes for my airship economy?

Background: I'm continuing to work on the economy of my industrial age world. As background info, it's a fantasy world, with loose basis in western Europe, 1870-1914; though the presence of (...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the consequences of using limited anti-gravity for steampunk-style airships?

The Scenario: Airships are awesome, but in the real world airship design is greatly constrained by the problem of lift. It seems like this, above all else, is what makes the elegant and compact ...
11
votes
11answers
736 views

How to correct aim in aerial airship combat?

Report! Correct aim 2-20 fore, figure in enemy speed at negative 15 knots relative decelerating. Ready? Fire in Sequence on my mark... MARK! LCDR Arnold Dering, Commander of the "X"-Turret, GKS-B-...
11
votes
8answers
2k views

Airship weapons, gliders

Hello World Builders, In the world I'm designing, the most advanced nations chose to focus heavily on natural helium (readily available in this world) airships for reasons justified by the world (...
11
votes
3answers
434 views

Floating buildings on Venus. What shapes are credible?

Venus is being paraterraformed with floating cities. Mechanical machines collect material from the surface and send it floating at an altitude of about 50 Km where conditions are more Earth-like. Here ...
10
votes
10answers
2k views

Dirigibles: Feasibility as (Effective) Aircraft Carriers

The flying aircraft carrier has been in the imaginations of many a writer and engineer, but to date the only true flying aircraft carrier has been USS Akron (and to a lesser extent, her sister ship, ...
10
votes
8answers
3k views

Lighter-Than-Air Bridge Technology

Imagine a very long bridge (Visbi Bridge - named after the designer) across an immense canyon - really almost a wide deep gorge -use on an earth-like world. My concept is that part of the support of ...
10
votes
8answers
542 views

Combat in “age of sail” air ship

Assume that you've conquered the issue of flotation, probably using some very-much-lighter-than-air gas bladder, allowing your ships to take to the skies. Assume also that you've invented a way to ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Arctic Airships, Part 1 - Generating Electricity

This is the first question in my Arctic Airships series of questions. The second one is Arctic Airships, Part 2 - Navigation. The premise: An Earth-like planet plunged into an ice age roughly 2,000 ...
9
votes
17answers
2k views

How could something fly (steampunk tech) without lifting gas?

In my universe the tech is steampunk and I want a better way of getting around in the air then lifting gas, helium or hydrogen. Bullets can easily puncture gas sacks and I really want something else ...
9
votes
6answers
933 views

What events could keep Zeppelins in the air today?

The Hindenburg was a massive failure in blimps, it practically banished them from the skies, it didn't matter that events such as the Hindenburg disaster were not as common as plane crashes today or ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the earliest that a civilization could develop airships?

Assuming a technological progression roughly similar to that of Europe in our world, what is the earliest that a civilization could have developed rigid-frame airships? For example, one could imagine ...
9
votes
8answers
2k views

Airships without huge balloons/gas bags that can still “float” in air, using minimal or no energy

Making a world where you live in the air, as the surface is not survivable (Venus-like) but there are mountains which serve as islands. I'm gonna leave out the story of the planet as it's not ...
8
votes
7answers
1k views

Medieval airlocks, would they be possible?

In terms of context, this airlock would be used on airships which fly at a height in which oxygen levels are too low for humans to live. Within the hull of the airship, stored oxygen would be pumped ...
8
votes
4answers
357 views

With current or near-future technology, how plausible is an aircraft-based civilization?

A large group of billionaires, engineers, pilots, and volunteers come together to announce the creation of an aircraft-based civilization. Here, people spend most of their lives aboard an aircraft, ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What would an age of sail flying ship look like?

To clarify by flying ship I do not mean conventional airship. A lot of fantastical depictions of flying ships look like their naval counterparts but in the air. However these have features like ...
8
votes
1answer
601 views

Anti-gravity engine/power plant for an airborne super carrier/assault carrier

I'm currently world building for a novel of mine that I am currently writing. It is steampunk-themed so the technology I am going to use is steam based. Let's start this at the beginning so you ...
7
votes
8answers
2k views

Siege defences for a floating city

Say there is a floating city that rests high in the air, it has the area of around New York City and has massive hydrogen tanks under it to keep it afloat, (I am aware the physics of this is ...
7
votes
6answers
677 views

What communication methods would be used on military steampunk aircraft?

In a steampunk world with airships and airplanes, but which lacks radio, how would different aircraft communicate, and how would they communicate with the ground? Would a form of semaphore, using ...
7
votes
5answers
723 views

How viable is a creature that floats through the air like a living hot air balloon

My idea for a creature within my fantasy story is that of a creature which floats through the air like a living hot air balloon. It would do this through the intake, storage and regulation of gases ...
7
votes
11answers
458 views

Making airships\blimps\dirigibles the dominant form of air transport

While similar to other questions they mostly focused on what impacts required in the past to keep airships as a popular air transport method today, this question is about how to make airships the ...
7
votes
5answers
232 views

What are some ways an airship could be landed without people on the ground?

In my novel, an experimental airship needs to land in a field but it's in a foreign country where there was no coordination ahead of time to have people on the ground help tether it. Is is still ...
7
votes
3answers
409 views

How high in the sky are you safe?

I understand that there is wide range of bullet calibers. I am interested in the ones that is 50 caliber or less, and if you can be high enough in a blimp to be safe either by to far to see or to far ...
7
votes
4answers
195 views

Depth charges in Venusian (or gas giant) atmosphere?

My AEROSTAT CITY is under siege by space pirates! Picture Dubai on air pillows. I imagine a chain of a few dozen aerostat "city blocks" linked together like a pontoon bridge to form a long flexible ...
7
votes
2answers
641 views

What is the sack-to-ship ratio?

In the world I'm building, the day lasts 9 of their years. This means that they are almost always on the move, living in blimp-like cities and houses. I've been designing these and I am having trouble ...
6
votes
3answers
382 views

What ways are there to keep a steady altitude with large fluctuations regarding load?

Setting: In my world I've introduced some science-defying material. I use it to grant the ability of flight to airships that are less Hindenburg-y and more ship-y. They are not literally ships that ...
6
votes
8answers
392 views

Is it possible to keep secret such a technological discovery?

Welcome to my fantasy, late-medieval world. For the sake of the question, we can divide it up in two major continents: Continent A is considered the birthplace of my humans and features a solid ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there any lifting gas that could provide more “lift” than hydrogen?

Or how can you modify (temperature, pressure etc.) of hydrogen or a different gas to get more "lift" in airships, if that's even possible?
6
votes
4answers
407 views

Using airships for air assaults

I've started planning a turn-based tactics game in the world I'm building, and I'm thinking of making the focus be on an airship assault force. The idea here is a transplant of the Vietnam-era UH-1 to ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Airship Aircraft Carrier Dimensions

I'm currently writing a military science fiction story set in a post cyberpunk world I've been building. The story focuses on a tank crew, but it also prominently features an enormous airship that ...