In a World War II era blimp hangar in California, a prototype of a new kind of aircraft, the “Aeroscraft” is being tested. It’s a space-age looking machine that’s almost as big as a football field and able to carry 50 tons or more. The pilot, Corky Belanger, says that for a hundred years, engineers couldn’t figure out how to make a device like this because of the way a blimp is designed. A blimp must have balance to fly. If it off-loads cargo, an equal amount of weight must be put back on.
The solution turned out to be compressed helium. “This is almost embarrassing, this is like an aha moment for me. I mean, I flew these things for so many years and I talked to so many people in the industry, and nobody could figure it out. I thought, ‘Man, why didn’t I think of this?’” Belanger says.
This new idea has enabled the Aeroscraft to fly freely. It won’t require a runway, or ground crew, or anything special to fly into disaster zones to deliver aid or conduct military operations.
As Corky Belanger tells Dick Gordon, “We can land on the ground, open up the cargo bay doors, lower the cargo right on the ground, dis-attach it and then just lift off and fly away.”