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.

It is better to be wrong than to be vague.”
- Freeman Dyson

Twitter

  • There’s an important difference between an inexperienced developer and a bad developer. Tuesday December 3, 2019
  • This is utterly unacceptable, GO Transit. Should we expect an apology for the inconvenience, coupled with a statem… t.co/lSux4a9mbM Thursday November 21, 2019
  • Note that it wasn’t even possible to discuss this with someone at Union. Instead we were just given a card with the… t.co/b6BtE7uUUW Thursday November 21, 2019
  • And why did she feel justified in chastising them? She ever ejected a guy off the train who stepped through the doo… t.co/rdWrnDA3AA Thursday November 21, 2019
  • Why didn’t anyone announce the carriage was closed while the train was pulling in? Or even once the doors had opene… t.co/AWJz8RM0aD Thursday November 21, 2019
  • Then she yelled at them over the loudspeaker to tell them how rude it was to have tried to hold the doors open and… t.co/SYDQ0NCUpF Thursday November 21, 2019
  • She just shut the doors on them with barely 3 seconds warning (including one woman who got her bag knocked into the… t.co/9kydaITveC Thursday November 21, 2019
  • Hey @GOtransit, want to explain to all the people who didn’t get on the Lakeshore East 4:10 today train why it was… t.co/4w4lbSMQCa Thursday November 21, 2019
  • Hey @devinwenig. It was great to be a part of the @eBay family under you. Though I left that family more than a yea… t.co/qChpcb22Dr Wednesday September 25, 2019