Please note: This is a provisional outline and list of ideas for
this section. I hope to complete the text as time and resources allow.
The hot air airship was invented by Don Cameron (UK) of
fame in the early seventies. After three years of development, the first
prototype, G-xxxx, was presented to the public at the Icicle Meet in
January 1973. It had a single vertical fin of roundish shape and the single
rudder was inflated with ram air from the propane fueled VW engine.
A second vertical fin was added quickly. Later, Cameron switched to tail
surfaces in a Y-cofiguration and finally to the now prevalent cruciform
Around the same time, engineers at
(later to unite with Colt Balloons to form Thunder & Colt) were
experimenting with scale models of pressurized thermal airships. A first
prototype, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland, made its maiden flight
Cooperating with a Swedish balloon company, Cameron also flew its first
pressurized hot airship.
Also in 1973,
(USA) flew his 140,000 cu. ft. Albatross.
Along the years,
in Sioux Falls (South Dakota, USA) and the
World Balloon Corporation
in Albuquerque (New Mexico, USA) built their own pressurized thermal
airships. But their designs never entered certified production.
In 1980? Cameron went on to pressurize its airship line as well. Today, all
commercially available hot air airships are of the pressurized type.
In the 1980s, the German
conducted extensive research
into hot air balloon and airship technologies, under the direction of its
founder Karl-Ludwig Busemeyer. In cooperation with Thunder & Colt, from
which it borrowed the gondola design, GEFA-FLUG developed its own thermal
airship design. Featuring a finer, more aerodynamic shape and higher
performance specifications, the prototype AS 80 GD flew in 1985?.
In 1990? Thunder & Colt built a very large hot air airship of 261,000
cu. ft. for Frenchman Dany Cleyet-Marel, the AS-261. The airship was later
fitted with an even larger replacement envelope by Lindstrand Balloons and has
since then been know as the AS-300.
Late entrant in the market is
(founded in 1994?) with its HS-110, a very sophisticated design intended
mainly for commercial advertising operations.