Saturday, April 01, 2006

So You Do Fly Airships?


1. Always check the actual and the forecast WEATHER, especially “upstream of the weather”. (chances are that the weather here later will be similar to the one there now) Be prepared and do not get caught.Remember that an airship cannot avoid the weather easily. Better stay on the mast when in doubt. And beware of inversions, especially on take-off.

2. Always think about your landing when computing your take-off STATIC Weight and Balance. Better to do an intermediate landing to reballast than to valve helium....or attempt a too heavy landing.

3. Always be aware of your TRIM.(this obviously applies only to larger airships with more than one ballonet, or any other means to trim)-a wrong trim on take off can result in a tail impact...or in an inability to clear obstacles, especially if you loose an engine! - a “properly” trimed airship flying fast will be much too much nose heavy when you slow down. Beware if you are also low!!! - a ship trimmed nose heavy for a light landing on a windy day will be pushed down by a wind gust and may impact the ground!

4. Never EVER add power to GO AROUND when your nose is pointing down. If you are light, just select full reverse and the ship will not only rise but will also stop going forward.And if you are heavy, get light immediately, or at least trim the nose light right away (but beware of loss of pressure), as trying to lift the nose aerodynamically at low airspeed will only result in pulling the tail down, and the whole airship with it...

5. Never turn DOWNWIND just after take-off with a heavy airship.You will have problems to immediately gain height and clear obstacles, even if you don’t loose an engine!! Always turn into the wind if you need to gain height quickly.

6. And remember that the most effective way to loose AIRSPEED is to make a sudden tight turn.This can be a plus.It can also lead to a sudden loss of aerodynamic lift. Do not get caught at low height with a heavy airship at low airspeed!(Airships with vectors have different problems here)


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