Airship Thursday July 8, 2010, 0 comments

Whenever I am watching a movie that is set in the times before modern air travel, I get this gnawing sense that the romance and adventure of travel has been lost. Because we (at least in the western world) are so focused on destinations and not journeys, we have naturally gravitated toward jet travel as a fast and convenient way to get to the far flung corners of the world.

I am a sailor, so I am used to not getting places in a hurry, am used to seeing the journey itself as the point, as opposed to merely arriving. I enjoy jet travel as much as one can, I guess, and it is nice that Europe is only hours away, since it means Sarah and I can visit her family in the UK, but something is being lost, and I lament it.

Think about that ‘golden age’ of travel, when steamships plied the oceans with hundreds of people aboard, travelling from Europe, North America to wherever. We can improve on it, minimize it’s deficiencies. Sea travel is very much at the mercy of weather, and lots of people get seasick, which are likely part of the reason that air travel so quickly replaced it. What we need is the elegance of sea tavel mixed with some of the conveniences of air travel. What we need is a return to airships.

We have the technology to make airships that don’t blow up any more. This is obviously desirable. They can be made as safe or safer than modern jet aircraft, and can be many times more efficient per passenger mile. It is about 5600kms form New York to London. A modern jet takes around 8 hours to make the trip. It would take an airship 38 to 46 hours to make the same trip.

Instead of being crammed into a tiny seat, airship travellers could be sitting at cafe tables sipping lattés and enjoying the view out the window. They could be gambling at a casino, or sitting in comfortable cinemas watching movies. They could even be standing on glassed in obervation decks, gazing out over the sea and clouds. They could have cabins to sleep in, with actual beds.

It seems a far more civilized way to travel, really. And potentially quite a bit cheaper, since a modern airship could potentially carry a lot more people at a much higher efficiency.

C’mon Richard Branson, can you make it about the journey, and not simply about arriving? Seems like the sort of thing that is right up your alley.


Comments

Commenting has ended for this post, but I'd still love to hear from you.

The website of Adrian Lebar

A Rain of Frogs is written, designed and built by Adrian Lebar, a twenty(!) year veteran of web design and development. He is currently managing web and mobile development teams at Canada’s largest and most beloved classifieds site, Kijiji!

He is a father, sailor, snowboarder, skier, cyclist, writer, artist, graphic designer, classically trained musician and afraid of heights.

Adrian is not currently available for freelance and contract work. Learn more.

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.”
- R. Buckminster Fuller

Twitter

  • I remember designing and building the original Playdium website in 1996 (I have screen caps somewhere of the work w… t.co/N3csm6pAwe Wednesday October 14, 2020
  • Enough of this, 2020, already. Eddie Van Halen, rest easy, man. t.co/bA8h4OtgsN Tuesday October 6, 2020
  • It is amazing how quickly one adjusts to their glasses constantly steaming up, isn’t it? Monday October 5, 2020
  • Seriously, no amount of ‘weird tricks that Warren Buffet uses’ are going to improve anyone’s life. Friday September 25, 2020
  • Was just pondering about how both writing and programming can rewrite your brain, and came to the following, which… t.co/Nm2G3G0Mz0 Friday September 18, 2020
  • Sony was, like, one front dial away from converting me over to their Full Frame cameras. One dial. t.co/C8ZMVTqjJD Monday September 14, 2020
  • t.co/Jj5Je55OyC Tuesday August 25, 2020
  • @mrmatthogg You certainly want to work with him. Tuesday May 12, 2020
  • @mrmatthogg Lately you sound like me 3 years ago, failing agains the profligate use of users bandwidth and computin… t.co/DGOM7XfVjZ Monday May 11, 2020