Speaking of airships, since I know you have looked into the subject.

Would a small baloon in your opinion, with some kind of stearing system (propeller powered by gasoline, electricity or maybe a tube of compressed air for minor adjustments etc.) be a realistic way of delivering household items in the country side?

Are there any advantages over a regular drone in terms of finance, maintenance, performance, safety, etc.?

Everyone is talking about drones these days, and I



Thought that for sparsely populate areas, maybe baloon delivery might be something that has been overlooked?

Or, it might have been thoroughly analyzed and discarded as being too expensive/unsafe/cumbersome etc.

I'm thinking a total weight of the items of let's say 5 to 20 kg here.

Distance flown will not be greater than 20 km.

@h4890 I can't think of any real advantages of an airship versus a regular drone. They'd basically have the same parts, except that, instead of wings, the airship would have a balloon of at least 7 meters diameter. Because of the need to compensate for drag, you probably won't get any efficiency benefits. And where would you bring this thing near ground? It's the size of a small (2 story) house!

@billblake2018 Yes, the drag, and for this small scale, it will probably be useless in winter.

As for space, that's a non issue in the country side.

I just remember I also saw a video a while ago where they lowered the package from the drone attached on a rope, so no landing even.

@h4890 The drag is a big issue, especially since it makes an airship particularly vulnerable to winds. And to keep an airship light, it can't have a lot of power with which to overcome wind. Of course, that's true of drones as well; you won't send either one into windy weather. Even rain could be a problem--even a small amount of water pooling on an airship's envelope could pull it down. All that said, it's not immediately obvious that an airship would be better or worse than, say, a quadcopter.


Hmm, yes, I was thinking of positives such as less risk of the thing dropping out of the air, as well as potentially less noise.

But it would be more unwieldly, drag, more sensitive to wind, and the cost I don't know actually.

I wonder how much a small hydrogen setup would cost? I mean creating hydrogen is the easiest thing in the world, but then storing it under pressure, there is where the money comes in I assume.

@h4890 You'd use helium, not hydrogen. My back of the envelope calculation says that it would take $150 of helium to fill a small airship's balloon, and that would last for many flights.

@billblake2018 Ahh, but from a self sufficiency point of view, how would I produce helium at home?

For industry/company point of view, yes, helium sounds like the way to go.

Am I right in assuming then that hydrogen would evporate and only last one flight compared with helium?

@h4890 If one is talking commercial purposes, it will be helium. If one is talking self-sufficiency, it almost has to be hydrogen. But your government likely won't let you use it. You *can* get helium from the air, though it takes a *lot* of energy, machinery, and time. Actually, helium is harder to contain. And both can be contained for long periods.

@h4890 I just stumbled across this--it mentions small-payload airship drones. I haven't reviewed these pages, but I thought you might be interested. aero.iitb.ac.in/~ltasys/WEBPAG

@billblake2018 Interesting!

Length 6.7 m (22 ft) with fineness ratio 4

Envelope volume 8.6 m3

Payload capacity 3 kg

Powered by 7.5 cc IC engine which produces 1.65 HP

Max. speed achieved 36 kmph at 200 ft.

Endurance 15 minutes with 250 ml fuel

However, the pages look very old and umaintained so I guess they never found the commercial setting for taking it to the next level?

@h4890 It looks like it was a student project, not intended commercially. When all that was going on, drone delivery wasn't really part of the conversation.

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