Science: New Lift for Airships

Giant airships vanished from the skies after the hydrogen-filled Hindenburg exploded and burned in 1937. But airship enthusiasts, buoyed by little more than hope, have remained at their drawing boards, designing huge lighter-than-air dirigibles that they believe could still compete effectively against other forms of transportation.

Most remarkable is the plan for a new three-way hybrid that combines some aspects of an airship, a winged airplane and a lifting body (a shape giving aerodynamic lift). The proposed craft, which looks remarkably like a porpoise, was designed by a group of engineers organized as...

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