69 votes

Comfortable way of entering and exiting Airships anywhere at will

Jetpacks! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rocketeer_(film) If you are going to have airships, you need jetpacks. I can picture the crewman spotting the grocery coming into view below as he is ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 304k
58 votes
Accepted

How could steampunk civilizations get lifting gas?

It turns out it's not that hard to make hydrogen gas for an airship, and you can do it yourself. Take some dilute sulphuric acid. Put small pieces of metal in the acid - iron, zinc, and aluminum ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 101k
39 votes

Would oceans filled with long-lived, omnivore, intelligent Krakens make sea travel impossible?

Octopi play. source The ocean can be terrifying. More terrifying is being played with by an intelligent predator. It grabs a person then leaves. It hits the boat and then leaves. It throws a huge ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 304k
36 votes

How to limit the usefulness of an anti-gravity mineral to airship construction in steampunk?

It only works at high concentrations Like fission, you need a minimum amount of this material for it to generate lift power. Gather a cube meter of this material and it would barely lift itself; but ...
McTroopers's user avatar
  • 7,339
35 votes
Accepted

Airship lifeboats, design alternatives

The safest place is still aboard your airship. Unlike seagoing vessels, airships do not traverse a medium that is potentially deadly for humans. When a ship sinks, people need to still be able to ...
dot_Sp0T's user avatar
  • 12.1k
34 votes

LED light or heating element?

You would want to use a heating element. If you use a light (whether visible light from a LED or infrared from a quartz heating element), some of the energy is turned into light, rather than heat. ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
  • 132k
32 votes

How could a pre-gunpowder army challenge the enemy's air superiority?

Perhaps you overspent on the wrong weapon WWI taught us that early (WWI-era) air warfare, while romantic, has serious drawback when used against ground troops. The greatest strategic impact of ...
user535733's user avatar
  • 28.9k
30 votes
Accepted

How to make the era of airships last longer?

No Hindenburg disaster - I'm aware this isn't enough alone but it is key One of the largest influences on the decline of airships was the publicity of the Hindenburg disaster. A mixture of imagery ...
Lio Elbammalf's user avatar
30 votes

Comfortable way of entering and exiting Airships anywhere at will

Skycrane As long as you have lifting power, there is no reason that you can't just pick up and lower a large, comfortable elevator box (doesn't have to be shaped like a house). If you want to keep ...
kingledion's user avatar
  • 85.4k
30 votes
Accepted

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

The outer skin of a zeppelin could start to rip. Someone would have to go on top to sew it up and stop the rip. Internally, bracing struts might snap and need to be replaced. Many airships had engine ...
o.m.'s user avatar
  • 114k
29 votes

Air-traffic control for medieval airships

During Middle Age ships cruised the seas with no communication whatsoever with both land and other ships. If there was any communication it was only when the ship was in sight or ear distance. Despite ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
  • 283k
29 votes
Accepted

Would a "Rigid" balloon "filled" with a vacuum work better than a hydrogen balloon in an earth atmosphere?

Not very much. 1 mole of a gas occupies 22.7 litres at 0°C. One mole is the molecular mass in grams. Thus one mole of hydrogen weighs 2 grams, and one mole of air is (28 * 0.8 + 32 * 0.2) = 28.8 grams....
CSM's user avatar
  • 1,327
28 votes

Smallest possible size for a manned airship

Let's assume that you're using helium as your lifting gas. If that's the case, you get about a gram of lifting capacity per litre of helium. That means that you want 1000 L of gas for every kg you ...
Tim B   II's user avatar
  • 54.1k
27 votes

What would make airships viable economically?

A zombie apocalypse! No, wait! I'm not kidding. That would be a perfect opportunity to bring back lighter-than-air transportation. After all,... the vessels are lighter than air. If you have an ...
Henry Taylor's user avatar
  • 69.2k
27 votes

How might airships be made using 18th century technology?

Sorry but no. No aluminium and no internal combustion engines means no airships. You must have aluminium -- there is no substitute for its combination of strength and lightness; and to smelt ...
AlexP's user avatar
  • 87.5k
27 votes
Accepted

Airborne 18th century soldier: Feasible?

Leonardo da Vinci's parachute was conceived in the late 1400's, and modern reproductions (made of linen BTW) work just fine. Reproduction of Leonardo's parachute The difficulty with early parachutes ...
Thucydides's user avatar
  • 97.7k
27 votes

How to best use my hypothetical “Heavenium” for airship propulsion?

Heavenium engine Take an ordinary water wheel. No water. Put a piece of heavenium under one side of the wheel. The side above the heavenium will become lighter, and the wheel will rotate. Use this ...
AlexP's user avatar
  • 87.5k
25 votes

Quick destruction of a helium filled airship?

The envelope of the airship is a red herring. As noted by other commenters, it is extremely hard to destroy because you're just hitting a giant pillow full of non-flammable nothing. (There have been ...
David Hambling's user avatar
23 votes

Air-traffic control for medieval airships

For congested airspace: Flags, Candles, coloured glass, and a codebook. So Semaphore Code is probably the best option (using flags to communicate), but also modern air traffic control has a backup ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 44.1k
22 votes

Would oceans filled with long-lived, omnivore, intelligent Krakens make sea travel impossible?

I am not sure that those kraken would consider human ships interesting prey. After all most of the ship is inedible (wood) and hunting those little, pesky critters hugging to the "huge log" ...
Archelaos's user avatar
  • 2,281
22 votes

Are airships practical in a world without much metal?

Trees and wood in the past has been a strategic resource. If you look at ship building, forests and trees like oak were protected by the King. The shipwrights would look at the branches and forks, and ...
UVphoton's user avatar
  • 6,912
21 votes

Comfortable way of entering and exiting Airships anywhere at will

Small landing pad on top of airship, used by a conventional helicopter, flying cars, or drones for deliveries. In fact, groceries can be delivered by drone straight to the receiving hatch in the main ...
Bald Bear's user avatar
  • 10.7k
21 votes

How functional/versatile would airships utilizing perfect-vacuum-balloons be?

16% more functional / versatile than existing helium airships. This is not the best use of Besker in your world. As was already pointed out in the comments; Hydrogen has 93% of the lifting power of ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 44.1k
20 votes

What would make airships viable economically?

As mentioned before, hybrid airships are getting back in fashion, it has been made more secure than before and it hits the middle ground between efficiency and speed. It uses less fuel than planes ...
Magic-Mouse's user avatar
  • 5,672
20 votes

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

A failure that's quite likely in a violent storm is damage to fins, rudders, or elevators. Presuming these are built similarly to what they were on the Zeppelins of the 1900-1940 era, turbulence ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
  • 45.8k
20 votes

Post-apocalyptic aircraft

hydrogen is too weak – one flaming arrow and the approaching flying battle-platform turns into (cinematographically appealing) fireworks. Only if your engineers are idiots. The cinematic flames ...
Logan R. Kearsley's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

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

Hydrogen is the lightest gas there is. In its common diatomic form (H2), it consists of two protons and two electron, making it extremely light, even compared to the next lightest gas, helium (...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 101k
19 votes

Preindustrial airships with minimalist magic

You don't need magic to explain pre-industrial airships, just more abundant and accessible sources of naturally occurring helium than real Earth has. Hot air balloons are (arguably) pre-industrial; ...
FuzzyChef's user avatar
  • 2,318
19 votes

How to limit the usefulness of an anti-gravity mineral to airship construction in steampunk?

When the material is “grounded”, it doesn’t give lift. They haven’t been able to figure out if it is some kind of static charge or a magic connection to the earth, but if it is connected to the ground ...
Eric G's user avatar
  • 418
19 votes

Medieval airship nomads

Hunting birds bring nearby food sources back to the airships Falcons for migrating birds Cormorants for fish Falconry is a Eurasian hunting method dating from the 13th Century BCE and well into the ...
Ed HP's user avatar
  • 407

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