Not long after successfully demonstrating its unique buoyancy system is capable of flight, the future of airships has taken a blow—literally. Due to some recent high-speed winds in Orange County, the Aeroscraft, which TechnoBuffalo saw first-hand earlier this year, has been badly damaged after the World War II-era hangar it was nestled in partially collapsed. The incident lead to a helium leak, which has yet to be contained.
When we saw the rigid airship earlier this year, employees of Aeros Corp explained why the Aeroscraft is so exciting, and what it could mean for the aviation industry. In addition to providing aid and shuttling supplies, there was future potential of airborne cruise ships; all that seems like a distant daydream thanks to this huge setback. It’s unclear how deeply the damage will affect the project, though it doesn’t undo the research that’s been put into the project, which was able to get off the ground thanks to $35 million in funds from the government.
The model that Aeros used to demonstrate it can fly was only half-scale, so there’s much more to come; a full-size airship was expected to measure in at 400 feet long, capable of carrying 66 tons. Once the helium leak is under control, it hasn’t been made immediately available whether the craft can be repaired. The industry of airships has been destroyed before, and this looks like it’s a case of history repeating itself. Can the Aeroscraft rise again? We’ve reached out for comment and will update you once we learn more.