In 1923, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company joined with the German Zeppelin Company to form the Goodyear-Zeppelin Company for the sole purpose of sharing airship design information between the US and Germany.
As a result of this merger, the US Government commissioned the Goodyear-Zeppelin Company in October of 1928 to build two large rigid airships, the Akron and Macon, for the US Navy. These two airships were to function as scout ships for Naval convoys and would have the capability to carry five fixed-wing aircraft inside their hulls.
In 1929, the construction of the Akron was begun and took two years to complete with her first test flight being completed in 1931.
As part of the business arrangement between the two companies, twelve engineers led by Dr Karl Arnstein were brought from Germany to the US to oversee the design and construction of the two airships. This was the Navy’s attempt at guaranteeing the success of both airships as their previous designs, as well as Great Britain’s, had ended in failure. Unfortunately, the decision was made by the design team to deviate from the proven Zeppelin design. Sadly, this decision ultimately led to the demise of both airships – for more information on this subject, see our presentation, “Understanding the Demise of the Akron and Macon” available for your viewing on the “Pitch Deck” page.
Why had the Germans succeeded with their airship program, while all others met with failure? The answer is simple, they possessed design and operational experience they had gained over a forty-year period, which included the extensive use of their technology in WWI. In simpler terms, the Germans had earned their success, while everyone else was merely trying to copy their design.
Today, the US Government has invested an estimated $2 billion in the revival of Lighter-than-Air technology in an attempt to develop a more economic mode of transportation. Unfortunately, their efforts have yielded few positive results primarily due to their attempts to “reinvent” the technology as displayed by their hybrid designs.
While deployed in 2012, my fellow employees and I came face to face with the problem the government was trying to solve with their investment in LTA – how to move more stuff for less without the use of ground infrastructure.
For us, the “need” presented itself in this manner. Almost every year, the government of Pakistan would close their border with Afghanistan in an attempt to squeeze more cash out of the US Government, as Pakistan is the shortest route to the US military bases in Afghanistan. A back and forth negotiation would ensue, and eventually an agreement would be met with Pakistan walking away owning the better deal. On one of these occasions, the negotiations were prolonged, which ultimately led to the rationing of food and water on many of the military bases as millions of dollars in medical and food supplies wasted away in the desert heat at the Afghan border.
This experience served as the impetus for the birth of our project.
The overarching goal of the Voyager Global Project is to meet the need in the global marketplace for a more flexible and economic transportation solution.
Lighter-than-Air technology is that solution, and within this technology there is only 1 design that proved itself capable by successful, continuous use over a 40-year period in the early 1900’s – the German Zeppelin.
Our LTA solution is based on this design and more importantly, the thorough study of its operational procedures.
On the “Pitch Deck” page, are multiple presentations regarding the project. Many of them are geared toward answering specific questions about LTA technology, while others are designed to challenge our thinking about transportation.
We encourage you to watch each one with an open mind, for it’s only with an open mind that we can imagine the future.