Flights of fancy

I get a kick out of imaginative reinterpretations of old ideas. In the 1930s the Germans repurposed their Zeppelin technology from being a platform from which to rain terror down on London during the first world war to become a floating luxe hotel to cross the Atlantic with panache (or whatever the German equivalent of panache might be). The Hindenberg disaster put paid to travel by blimp, it's popularity going down like a flaming lead zeppelin.

The Manned Cloud is a very, very cool concept that could; by all accounts be airborne in as little as a year from now. Aside from the cool whale design of the blimp it would be able to circumnavigate the globe in as little as 3 days. I'd be inclined not to rush things.

The craft would be able to land in places where conventional aircraft would not - it doesn't need a runway and, like a cruise ship, the cloud is its own accommodation centre.

According to its designer, Jean Marie Massaud, this hotel-cruise-dirigible will allow the travelers to enjoy a non-stop round the world in 3 days, while staying in any of its 60 rooms.

Unlike a fixed wing aircraft it doesn't need fossil fuel to stay aloft, so it's carbon footprint is minimised by floating on helium (which isn't explosive like its ill-fated predecessors).

I, for one, would rather charter this baby than hurtle through the upper atmosphere aboard a Virgin Galactic missile.

Air New Zealand should order one or two today to waft the super-rich around our beauty spots and Antarctica without delay.

Just a thought.


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