Don't mention the Hindenberg

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Design company Seymourpowell is looking for a customer for a hotel that floats in the sky.

The company designed the Aircruise pretty much for fun, but got Samsung Construction & Trading interested. While Samsung wouldn't go so far as to commission one, it did fund a proper technical spec and an animation.

Ironically, it's the Aircruise's green credentials that would make it the preserve of the really rich. Lifted by hydrogen and powered by solar energy, the Aircruise "requires a gigantic volume of lifting gas, yet simultaneously demands a relatively limited amount of weight," says design director Nick Talbot.

"This allows for a potentially large amount of space with relatively few people onboard - a luxury for any traveller."

The thing could work, though at goodness what cost.

From the docking rig at the base to the tip, the ship would be 265 metres tall. Hydrogen can lift around 1.2Kg per cubic metre, and the volume of the main envelope in the ship would be 330,000 cubic metres - 396,000Kg of available lift at sea level.

When the weight of all the internal walls, people and expensive sunglasses is factored in, there's plenty of lift left over, says the company.

Cruising speed would be 150Kmh, giving a journey time of about 37 hours from London to New York. It would be pretty vulnerable to storms and high winds, but, "Advanced weather radar and weather prediction systems allow the ship to route around major problems," says the company, brightly.

It doesn't have a lot to say about the potential safety issues of using hydrogen, either. Presumably it'll be another bloody place smoking is banned.