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Henry Kenyon, Sunday, 11-15-15 November 16, 2015

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Henry Kenyon, Sunday, 11-15-15


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Guest:  Henry Kenyon.  Topics:  Hybrid airships for potential military and commercial markets plus more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed Henry Kenyon to the show to discuss the subject of hybrid airships.  Mr. Kenyon wrote an article on this subject in the October issue of Aerospace America, a publication of AIAA. His article is titled “New life for an old hybrid (www.aerospaceamerica.org/Documents/Aerospace%20America%20PDFs%202015/October2015/AA_Oct2015.pdf.  Scroll down until you come to the article of interest).  In the first segment of our 85 minute program, Mr. Kenyon talked about modern airships, some of the differences from older style airships, plus he talked about different kinds of airships such as blimps, tethered vehicles, Dirigibles, Zeppelins and the hybrids, noting their differences from one to another.  Mr. Kenyon then talked about the Lockheed experimental P-791 airship which is discussed at length in his article.  He also has some very good pictures of the P-791 in the article.  He talked about its hover ability, how it works, size, speed and cargo capability.  We also learned that if fully loaded, it actually has to make a short take-off run to get off the ground.  Mr. Kenyon noted the military uses for a modern airship, then we talked about commercial uses but as you will hear, the commercial side of the project seems to still be emerging.  Henry was asked about UAVs as a competitor to airships.  We also talked about the recent Raytheon tethered vehicle that broke away from the tether due to high winds.  Our guest noted that the hybrid airship such as the experimental P-791 did not use a tether or mooring tower.  A listener asked our guest about cybersecurity given it was part of his bio that I read as I as I introduced today’s guest.  We had a short but very interesting discussion on cybersecurity issues which you will not want to miss.  Before the segment ended, we talked about the cargo capacity of the modern hybrid airship, comparing it to a large jet such as a C-130 or 747,  plus cargo transport times, cost overruns, and technical problems still needing to be resolved.

In the second segment, Henry told us the P-791 was on display at Palmdale, Ca.  I changed the subject and asked him based on his expertise and observations again from his bio, what type of programs were most likely to be cut or eliminated by congress.  You don’t want to miss his analysis on this subject.  Returning to airships, he was asked about the gas used for buoyancy.  This led to a listener questions about why helium over other gasses.  Our guest replied by talking about helium, hydrogen, and market concerns for helium as it is in limited supply since it is a naturally occurring element and not manmade.  Several listeners asked him about the commercial potential, include general delivery of Fed Exp or UPS type packages.  He explained the competition airships would face from existing low cost surface transportation options.  Before the show ended, listeners asked him about commercial business projects wanting to use airships for internet and communication platforms.  Adrian emailed in saying weather would destroy any real serious use of airships though our guest disagreed with Adrian.  Henry said with advanced weather radar and the speed of a modern airship, weather issues were not the same as with older airships that did not have radar or good weather forecasting services.  Henry said a modern airship could maneuver around a storm given their speeds and if they were grounded due to weather, much of aviation would probably be grounded as well.  Henry offered salient concluding comments you will want to hear.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can reach Mr. Kenyon through me.



1. Andy Hill - November 19, 2015

About 15 years ago I had the opportunity to give some technical advice to the Airship2000 company which I think at the time were working out of one of the original hangers for the R101 Airship at Cardington in Bedfordshire, do you know whether they are still working on airships.

The last I heard I think they bought a demonstrator airship they had built for the US military after the project got cancelled

2. Ted - November 17, 2015

Forgive me but all this talk about helium… Here’s Morgan Freeman and Jimmy Fallon talking while on helium:

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