Zeppy 3: wind-powered airship to attempt Mediterranean crossing
By Paul Ridden
June 28, 2010
Preparations are underway for a 150 mile journey from southern France to Corsica in a sail balloon. High flyer Stéphane Rousson is planning to pilot Zeppy 3 across a stretch of Mediterranean waters using only the power of the wind and a curved carbon foil based on the chien de mer by Didier Costes. Gizmag took the opportunity to have a closer look at the new balloon at the recent Paris Green Air Show.
Rousson is no stranger to Gizmag. As well as the ambitious WINDREAM ONE project, an attempt at a crossing of the English Channel has also been featured. The airship used in the latter has been subjected to some serious modifications, tweaks and testing since then and will shortly be sailing across Mediterranean waters at up to twice the speed of the wind thanks to a modified chien de mer first outed with WINDREAM ONE.
The 65.6 feet long and 16.4 feet wide Zeppy 3 recently on display at Le Bourget in Paris is filled with 200 cubic meters of helium. An adjustable cable (from just over 65 feet in length to 164 feet) will run from the pilot's cradle to the curved carbon foil skimming the surface of the water. The airship itself will then act like a huge sail, stabilized in the water by the chien de mer so that it can fly head to wind, traveling at up to twice the wind speed.
Rousson is hoping to take the wind-powered Zeppy 3 from Toulon in the south of France over to Calvi in northern Corsica some time in September or October. The 150 mile trip (as the crow flies) is expected to take between 10 and 15 hours, depending on weather conditions.