Heavy loads are usually transported over long distances by rail, road or water. Aerial transportation is another method that could gain acceptance because it will not be threatened by hurdles normally faced in traditional systems. With this concept in mind, a French company wants to develop a viable alternative in the form of a cargo airship.

Daily Mail UK reports that the company Flying Whales plans to compete against names like Lockheed Martin in a contest to create a 500-foot Blimp for lifting lumber from deep woodland. The company claims to have an edge over others because its blimp can lift loads of 60 tons without using any mooring pylons.

The first flight of its prototype is expected to be in 2021.

Airships could be the future

Flying Whales founder and Chief Executive Officer Sebastien Bougon is hopeful for the project. He admits that there have been many blimp projects in the past with limited success and the time has now come to reverse the trend. In his opinion, the wood market is huge and an attractive one for investment.

The airship will be large enough to carry huge amounts of load and will be of a robust construction to withstand the force of winds. It will have helium under pressure and will not need any airport or a runway to get airborne. Moreover, the aerial route will circumvent problems associated with traffic jams on roads and will appeal to the industry.

Flying Whales has plans to build 150 machines in France and China.

Options available

Apart from shifting logs, airships could play a major role in transporting outsize parts and machinery. Moving such equipment by conventional means involves hurdles and leads to delays. Aerial movement does away with such irritants and Flying Whales is in contact with a few companies who have shown an interest in the blimp.

Incidentally, HAV's Airlander 10 is at present the world's largest aircraft. However, its progress so far has been far from smooth. In 2016 it crashed-landed when its mooring lines got entangled in telegraph wires. Last year it broke free from its mooring mast which was attributed to heavy and unruly winds.

Telegraph UK adds that when the incident happened last year the airship was stationary.

It was in the development stage and the incident is being investigated. Anyway, it has an inbuilt automatic safety system which deflates the ship. The company has high expectations because the Airlander is capable of carrying heavy loads and also accommodating up to 60 passengers. It plans to use it for operating luxury commercial flights from 2019.