Airship Test for the Forrest Service

19. April 2010

We were awarded a contract several months ago for the development of an airship that can fly  tethered or free flight with a radio repeater and infra red camera on board for the Forrest Service.  We partnered with Hyperblimp to accomplish this.  Recently, we took the new airship out and demonostrated it for the Forrest Service.  We mounted a camera and radio repeater on the airship and flew it with a lightweight, high strength tether attached. 

Flying the airship on a tether has always been difficult, but the new changes that have been made to the airship make it easy to fly tethered.  One of the issues when you tether is how to bring in the tether and let it out with out snagging on something or tugging on the line.  We handled this by attaching the tether to a fishing reel.  Letting more line out is as simple as turning a knob.  High speed line retreival is accomplished with a drill attached to the reel as shown in this photo.



This airship is 52 feet long and has about 9 pounds of lift at 4500 feet elevation.  In a previous we mounted a motor on the nose and on the tail of the airship.  It was extremely manuverable and REALLY fast!  The shot below shows the entire airship. The second photo shows the nose of the airship with the camera, radio repeater, and nose mounted motor.






This is a video showing some of the footage from the airship.  The video is interesting for a couple of reasons:

  1. The footage is extremely stable.  Normally, we fly with a gyro stabilized camera mount to help keep the video smooth.  We did not have the gyros turned on in this footage.
  2. The natural sound has been left on the video.  You will hear many things including the camera mount movement (loud), the motor (a humming sound), voices from the ground, birds signing, and trucks driving on the road.  The sound is coming from the microphone on the video camera. Imagine what could be done with high quality directional microphones.

Equipment, Technology