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F. Betorz Martínez
The inherent big volume and large envelope surface of airships makes them ideal candidates for solar flight. In order to obtain sufficient power from the solar cells a large surface is required which is available on the upper side of an airship envelope. Due to the power limitations of the solar airship, the availability of accurate and reliable weather forecast data is essential for trajectory optimization and flight safety. The objective of this paper is to study the performance of a non-contaminant recreational airship solar flight by using accurate weather forecasting data and an electric propulsion system powered by solar cells. The concept of geostrophic flight is introduced as a flight whose trajectory is determined in advance based on accurate weather forecast data. Geostrophic flight is performed mainly over the planetary boundary layer, where the wind is barely affected by the Earth's surface friction and can be very well approximated by the geostrophic wind. In this paper a conceptual design of the solar airship "Zero" has been made based on airship AU-12 as a reference. Results show that the performance of "Zero" in terms of payload and speed is similar to the one of the reference airship AU-12. The introduced technique of the guaranteed covered area (GCA) has been modelled for a 3-hour solar flight starting from Barcelona, for every month of the year 2008. It is shown that the average GCA range for the months between October and February is about 190 km, whereas the GCA range between March and September rises to 230 km, concluding to a seasonal dependency of the range using geostrophic flight. This paper shows that recreational airship solar flight is feasible with current technology. Moreover, the availability of accurate short and midterm weather forecast data can make the 21st century airship flight safe and reliable.
10th International Airship Convention, Friedrichshafen
21,0 x 29,7 cm, 16 Seiten
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