LTA's Efficiency Stats

Lighter-than-Air technology
will prove itself the most efficient and profitable form of transportation
in the 21st Century, beating out all other modes in time and fuel economy,
and by providing an unparalleled passenger experience.

LTA vs. Contemporary Transportation

There are at least 6 common factors that can be used when comparing today’s transportation modes:

  • Ownership Cost
  • Maintenance Cost
  • Operating Cost
  • Infrastructure Cost
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Time Efficiency

The chart above compares Lighter-than-Air technology, also known as the LTA, with 4 of the most common modes of transportation based on fuel efficiency.

The metric used to measure fuel efficiency within the cargo industry is the “ton-mile per gallon” (TM/G). It indicates the cargo in tons that can be transported 1 mile on 1 gallon of fuel. Obviously, the higher the number, the greater the fuel efficiency.

Transport by fixed-wing aircraft will always be the least fuel efficient. As an example, a 757-200F can only carry about 35 tons of freight but consumes 1,500 gallons of fuel per flight hour, equating to approximately 15 ton-miles per gallon.

The trucking industry’s documented national average is 72 ton-miles per gallon.

The 673 ton-mile per gallon rating for shipping by vessel is based on one of the world’s largest and most fuel-efficient container ships, the OOCL Hong Kong. There are over 5,000 registered container ships worldwide of smaller sizes and lesser fuel efficiencies. In addition, shipping by vessel must rely on the less fuel-efficient mode of trucking to complete both the first and last mile of delivery. Therefore, its overall TM/G rating is far less than indicated.

Rail is often touted as the most fuel-efficient form of ground transportation for cargo. But rail access is limited, and like shipping by vessel, it too must rely on trucking for the first and last mile of the delivery process, thus reducing its overall ton-mile per gallon rating below what is indicated.

Our TM/G ratings for rail are based on the fuel efficiency of one of North America’s most popular locomotives.

In the chart above, there are 3 columns that represent rail’s fuel efficiency:

  • Rail-1 represents the TM/G rating for ideal conditions: 0% grade with no wind, precipitation, or curves in the track.
  • Rail-2 represents the same conditions as Rail-1, but the grade is increased to 1%.
  • Rail-3 also has the same conditions as Rail-1, but with the grade increasing to 2%.

A 1% grade represents a rise of only 1 foot over a 100-foot length of track, and a 2% grade represents a rise of 2 feet over the same length of track.

The steepest railroad grade in North America is nearly 6%!

The noticeable difference between Rail-2 and 3 versus Rail-1 demonstrates the significance that even a slight increase in grade can have on fuel economy.

Compounding this issue is the reality that grades are virtually everywhere!

In the chart, there are also 3 columns that represent LTA:

  • LTA-1 represents the fuel efficiency of the airship Hindenburg if she were upgraded with modern diesel engine technology, constant speed propellers, and carrying cargo at the same 15 knot or 17 mph cruise velocity as a large container ship like the OOCL Hong Kong.
  • LTA-2 represents the Hindenburg with the same tech as LTA-1 but traveling at 25 mph, which is the average velocity of a modern freight train in North America.
  • LTA-3 also represents the Hindenburg with the same tech as LTA-1 but traveling at 35 mph, which is the average velocity for Class 8 trucking in North America.
  • And finally, “SkyTrain” represents the fuel efficiency attainable when pod trains are utilized, taking LTA to a whole new level.

LTA’s superior fuel efficiency ratings, as displayed in the column chart, are the result of buoyancy nullifying the effects of gravity, rendering all loading virtually weightless.

We refer to this concept as “Weightless Cargo”.

With LTA, there are no grades!

Taking LTA’s fuel economy to an even higher level than what’s displayed in the chart is the concept of “Direct Path Access”. This concept exemplifies the fact that LTA reduces travel distance and time by traveling in a straight line from departure to destination.

No other form of transportation shares the benefits of these two concepts.

The global impact of LTA’s contribution to the transportation industry will not be fully realized until it is implemented and accepted as a commonly used technology.

Quantifying LTA's Time Efficiency

A technology’s ability to perform the same work as other transportation modes while consuming less fuel is an impressive gain, but not the only factor to consider.

As previously stated, LTA has the advantage of a concept we call “Direct Path Access”.

Direct path access eliminates wasteful trekking.

This means LTA uses a shorter distance to perform the same work and thus consumes less time.

The fuel consumption chart above attempts to quantify the magnitude of the impact of this concept.

As an example, in 2019 the world consumed 1.2 trillion gallons of fuel.

At an average price of $2.64 per gallon, that equates to approximately $3.2 trillion spent on fuel in just one year!

If we assume 40% to be wasteful fuel consumption resulting from the transportation industry’s enslavement to its indirect ground-based transportation infrastructure, that equates to $1.3 trillion, or 480 billion gallons of wasted fuel.

To substantiate this reality, consider your own driving experiences. While traveling to any destination, you are forced to take an indirect path with multiple turns, stops, starts, deceleration due to congestion, merging traffic, etc., followed by periods of acceleration and changes in grade. This is the most inefficient way to operate a motor vehicle equipped with an internal combustion engine (ICE).

It’s a well-documented fact that more than 50% of the energy contained in every gallon of fuel is consumed by the ICE itself long before any power reaches the wheels of the vehicle.

The inefficiency of this technology and the way in which it is used is mind boggling.

Making matters worse, 3 of the modes used to transport cargo utilize ICE technology:

  • Trucking
  • Rail
  • Vessels

Taking the discussion a step further, the following chart displays the estimated base fuel consumption when both ICE’s internal inefficiencies and the inefficiencies of the ground-based transportation infrastructure are collectively considered.

As displayed, out of the $3.2 trillion spent globally for fuel in 2019, only an estimated $500 billion can be considered the base fuel consumption.

Stated another way, when considered collectively, the inefficiencies of both ICE technology and the ground-based transportation system account for 85% of global fuel consumption. Meaning only 15% is required for the actual work of moving people and cargo.

Stop and consider the scope of that for a moment. In a world where many on the left want to completely abandon fossil fuels in the name of “saving the planet”, forcing the switch to energy sources that don’t function unless the weather conditions are perfect, all that is really required is a paradigm shift in the method of transportation.

Forcing everyone into electric vehicles only succeeds in pushing the “carbon” creation back to the power plants. For the 86% of the global community living in developing countries to grow and prosper to the same level as the 14% living in developed countries, there must be affordable access in those countries to both reliable power and reliable transportation.

By utilizing direct path access and weightless cargo, LTA will prove itself the most efficient transportation technology in the 21st century, beating out all other modes in both time and fuel economy while simultaneously creating a new transportation paradigm.

Ground Transportation Infrastructure Cost

In addition to the fuel and time efficiencies, LTA isn’t shackled to costly ground infrastructure which is characteristic of all other forms of transportation.

That means that unlike the Class I railroad companies in the US who spend $20 billion annually maintaining over 100,000 miles of track and 104,000 trestles, or the state and local entities who spend $187 billion annually maintaining over 4.1 million miles of roads and highways, LTA can use these monies as investment back into the business and shared profits for the investor, with the overall result being lower taxes for the taxpayer.

Recommended Presentations

For more information about the concepts discussed on this page, we recommend viewing the following presentations on our “Pitch Deck” page:

LTA's Historical Stats

  • German airship program duration: 1889 – 1940
  • The Germans were the first to master controlled flight
  • All German Zeppelins were equipped with hydrogen as the lift gas
  • More than 120 German Zeppelins were built
  • 80 German Zeppelins were used in WWI to fight England and their allies
  • First humans to travel by air were aboard an airship
  • First humans to traverse continents and oceans were aboard a Zeppelin
  • First humans to travel around the world were aboard a Zeppelin
  • First aerial bombing of a population was carried out by a Zeppelin
  • Until the demise of the Hindenburg in 1937, the Germans had enjoyed a perfect passenger safety record for 40 years
  • To date, the Germans have the only successful airship program
  • It took fixed-wing aircraft (airplane) 20 additional years to equal the Zeppelin’s accomplishments

Graf Zeppelin LZ-127 Stats

  • Considered the most successful Zeppelin due to its 9 years of service
  • Service period: 1928 – 1937
  • 34,000 passengers safely transported
  • 590 successful flights
  • 17,000 flight hours
  • August 26, 1929 – successfully completed its Around-the-World Expedition by air
  • Expedition total duration: 21 days
  • Expedition flight hours: 288 (12 days)
  • Expedition distance traveled: 21,250 miles
  • Expedition passengers and crew: 60 men and 1 woman
  • Expedition average speed: 71mph

Hindenburg LZ-129 Stats

  • The largest aircraft ever built
  • Considered one of the most technologically advanced airships
  • Service period: 1936 – 1937
  • Passenger accommodations: 50 – 75
  • 3,100 passengers safely transported
  • 63 successful flights
  • 3,100 flight hours
  • Average cruise speed: 75mph
  • Top speed: 85mph
  • Fuel consumption: 163 gallons of diesel fuel per hour in total
  • Gross lift: 511,000 lbs
  • Net lift: 240,000 lbs
  • Destroyed by fire May 6, 1937