Bruce Dickinson — yes, the Bruce Dickinson — plans to pilot a hybrid airship called The Airlander across the world. At 302 feet, it’s the longest aircraft in the world, and it’s 70 percent greener than a cargo plane. It lands on water, ice, or any reasonably flat surface. It can fly for days without refueling, promising more efficiency and carbon savings for freight and shipping industries while also being a boon to disaster recovery efforts.
Wait. Stop. What do you mean “who’s Bruce Dickinson?”
“Number of the Beast?” “Run To The Hills?” Iron Freaking Maiden?!?! Do they even teach anything in high school anymore? Fine, I’ll do it for you:
You’re welcome. Anyway, Dickinson — Iron Maiden singer, doctor, commercial airline pilot, all-around hero — is a major investor in the British Hybrid Air Vehicles’ Airlander, and he’s planning an all-out, Richard-Branson-esque media assault to trumpet the Airlander’s maiden voyage in 2016. He tells the BBC:
“It’s a game changer, in terms of things we can have in the air and things we can do,” he says.
“It seizes my imagination. I want to get in this thing and fly it pole to pole,” he says.
“We’ll fly over the Amazon at 20ft, over some of the world’s greatest cities and stream the whole thing on the internet.”
Take that, Branson. You may have fancy island parties where Kate Winslet rescues your mom from flames or whatever, but can you sing, “Please put away your tray tables and place your seats in the upright POSIIIIIITTIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!” while hitting a totally righteous high A? Didn’t think so.
More on the Airlander:
It’s not all clean-energy sunshine, as Hybrid Air Vehicles plans to market the Airlander to drilling operations as an ideal operations solution in extreme climates (i.e. the Arctic). But if they can make it up to us by marketing it to clean energy consortiums as well, we’ll call it even. An enormous balloon in a field of wind turbines presents no serious risks that I can think of.