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posted by martyb on Saturday October 07, @01:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the giving-packages-a-'lift' dept.

What do you get when you cross a plane with a blimp? A Plimp. That's not a joke, it's what the thing is actually called. Manufactured by Seattle-based Egan Airships, the 28-ft (8.5-m) unmanned aircraft has a helium-filled envelope allowing for blimp-like buoyancy, while its winged rigid body allows it to travel quick-ish like a conventional drone.

When the Plimp is taking off and landing – or just hovering on the spot – its two wings rotate so that the electric motors/propellers are facing straight up. This allows it to move vertically. Once it's time to get a move on, however, the wings rotate into a more airplane-like orientation, in which the props are facing forward. In this mode, it can achieve a maximum speed of 40 mph (64 km/h) with at least one hour of flight time depending on payload.

Should the motors conk out, the sub-55-lb (25-kg) Plimp won't just plummet from the sky. Thanks to the buoyancy of its envelope and the lift provided by its wings, it can reportedly glide down at a speed of 9 mph (14 km/h).


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  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday October 07, @03:24PM (1 child)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 07, @03:24PM (#578587) Journal

    This is a step up from a balloon, in that you can sort of go where you want. But, let me do some really simple numbers. Top speed about 40 mph - and winds can blow anywhere from zero to thirty mph, without storms. Meaning, for you to travel agains the prevailing winds, you have to settle for about ten mph. Hmmmm. Might be faster to just circumnavigate the earth? Oh, wait. 40 mph, plus or minus a good tailwind is still going to take several weeks to get where I wanted to go. Babies are conceived and born in a matter of weeks, FFS.

    This really doesn't sound like my modus locomotus. A horse isn't any faster, but a horse won't be blown off course by a gust of wind.

    --
    #Hillarygropedme
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 08, @12:55AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 08, @12:55AM (#578714)

      This really doesn't sound like my modus locomotus. A horse isn't any faster, but a horse won't be blown off course by a gust of wind.

      Yes, but a horse masses much more than 25kg! Without the lightweight plimp, you might otherwise be struck by a plummeting horse! Vote safety - vote plimp!

  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday October 07, @03:37PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday October 07, @03:37PM (#578593)

    A max speed of 40mph means that in 40mph gusting conditions, you'll be stopped from flying upwind during the gusts, with an average sustained wind speed of 40mph or higher, this thing is only capable of sailing downstream. That 1 hour of operational time also likely does not apply at 100% full throttle operation. And, a funny thing about wind: it gets stronger/faster as you get up away from the ground.

    Still, on a nice calm day, this should be a pretty stable platform to take video from.

  • (Score: 1) by DECbot on Saturday October 07, @04:54PM

    by DECbot (832) on Saturday October 07, @04:54PM (#578614) Journal

    Should the motors conk out, the sub-55-lb (25-kg) Plimp won't just plummet from the sky. Thanks to the buoyancy of its envelope and the lift provided by its wings, it can reportedly glide down at a speed of 9 mph (14 km/h).

    I could care less about the speed of unpowered flight. Even an unpowered brick dropped from the sky can achieve 9 mph. What is the glide ratio that theoretically keeps the plimp from plowing into the earth?

    --
    cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
  • (Score: 2) by rylyeh on Saturday October 07, @11:23PM

    by rylyeh (6726) Subscriber Badge <reversethis-{moc.liamg} {ta} {htadak}> on Saturday October 07, @11:23PM (#578691)

    Pimp!

    Plimp is a misnomer, however. The correct word is Blane!

    --
    “Don’t move,” he cautioned, “for in these rays we are able to be seen as well as to see.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 08, @12:52AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 08, @12:52AM (#578713)

    In which way is this best in the world in which someone doesn't want to be trackable and locatable for each and every moment of life?

    Time to "go long" on steel rebar and reinforced roof-building contracting companies...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 08, @01:35AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 08, @01:35AM (#578731)

      It is for them, not for you.

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