December 12, 2006 Skyacht Aircraft has created a whisper quiet, steerable, Personal Blimp capable of sustained and affordable flight. Under development for four years, the first Personal Blimp, named Airship Alberto, made its first flight on October 27, 2006, becoming the first and only aircraft to meet this seemingly straightforward goal. The Personal Blimp uses hot air (rather than Helium) for lift and silent electric motors for propulsion and is hence a hot air balloon that can be flown, steered and landed in perfect quiet offering passengers a serene flight experience. It can hover and steer around objects making it ideal for, amongst other things, eco-tourism, aerial photography and film-making. It’s due at market in about two years for a price under US$200,000 compared to the smallest helium airship which costs US$2,000,000+ while a top-notch helium ship costs more than US$12 million. When not in use, the Personal Blimp can be deflated and folded for storage (much like a hot air balloon.) The combination of ready buoyancy control and rapid deflation eliminates not only costly hangars but also the large ground crews typically required for helium airships.
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