In 1923, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in the US teamed up with the German Zeppelin Company to form the Goodyear-Zeppelin Company with the purpose of sharing airship design information between the two countries.
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 each would have the capability to carry five fixed-wing aircraft inside its hull.
In 1929, the construction of the Akron was begun and took two years to complete with her first test flight being carried out 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 early 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 ended in failure? The answer is simple, they earned their success through the accumulation of more than forty years of design and operational experience, which included the extensive use of their technology in WWI, while everyone one else attempted to shortcut the process by merely copying the German’s design.
Today, the US Government has invested an estimated $2 billion in Lighter-than-Air technology in an attempt to develop a more economic mode of transportation. Unfortunately, their efforts have yielded few positive results primarily because they’re trying to “reinvent” the technology instead of revive it, as is evidenced by their hybrid designs.
While deployed in 2012, I witnessed an example of the problem the US Government is trying to solve with their investment in LTA.
Nearly 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 most direct route to the US military bases in Afghanistan.
A back-and-forth negotiation would ensue, and eventually an agreement would be hammered out, with Pakistan walking away the winner. 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.
We realized that there is a need within 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 one design that has proven itself capable after being successfully used for more than 40 years in the early 1900’s.
Our LTA solution is based on this design; and just as importantly, a thorough study of its proper operation.
On our “Pitch Deck” page, are multiple presentations pertaining to the project. Many of them are geared toward answering specific questions about the technology, while others are designed to challenge our thinking about the way we do transportation today.
We encourage you to watch each one with an open mind, for it’s only with an open mind that one can imagine the future.