Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Ozone Lounge

Fly New York to LA in the lounge of a bar listening to live piano music. Need a nap? Stretch out in a soundproof mini-bedroom. Gourmet lunch? Go to the 4-star restaurant. Ticket price? $100.00 The caveat: It takes 24 hours and this is the Ozone Lounge, a fictional future super-zeppelin 700 feet long, 200 feet tall, with a wingspan of 400 feet. It is named for the most famous bar in the Solar System located just behind the pilot's cabin. Click on the above picture for a larger view. But just how far-fetched is it? Let’s take a closer look at the future technology of the semi-rigid, lighter-than-air lifting body described in Transmat World and examine each element for a functional current-technology replacement.

True, the thrust and lift is provided by Transmats, the ubiquitous teleportation devices the book is named for. Let’s replace the Transmat-supplied hot-air lifting bags with standard helium lift bags but add a twist. We are going to connect a small, but powerful pump and storage tank to the lift bag so that helium can be added or taken away, increasing or decreasing the lift. This does away with the ballast or having to dump lifting gas; giant leap forward and no futuristic tech involved.

The skin of the Ozone Lounge is a thin, waterproof ripstop nylon with Kevlar back-up webbing. Hey, we got that now! It is held in place by an inflated structure just like a kid’s inflatable bouncer/jumper only higher pressure--extremely doable, very lightweight. This structure is also what the lift bags exert their force against.
 The stubby wings are some of the more solid elements of this craft. Don't let their size fool you. They provide over a quarter million pounds of lift at 100 mph.They are connected by strong, lightweight carbon fiber trusses to the solid landing pan (the bottom part) of the aircraft and the pilot and passenger cabins which are also lightweight, durable carbon fiber composite. The only addition would be eight 4-wheel, heavy duty wheel trucks evenly spaced on the landing pan. These aren't shown in the drawings.

Now let’s replace those wonderful Transmat thrusters and their never-ending supply of compressed air described in the book with electric motors driving propellers. Mundane, but we now cover the enormous ship with thin-film, flexible photovoltaic cells charging several modern lithium-ion battery packs made just for this purpose. Not so mundane now. What I am saying is that with off-the-shelf technology we have a modern, solar-powered airship capable of landing and taking off like a plane and carrying hundreds of passengers for pennies per pound that doesn't harm the environment. It might take a little longer to get somewhere but maybe it’s time we slow down and enjoy the ride into a more relaxed and sustainable future. Give me your thoughts and comments on this technology. How can we tweak it?

What other technologies have I hidden in Transmat World? Go check it out now. Click here to read the first couple of chapters of Transmat World.

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