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Psychotic.Pink
11-01-2012, 09:24 AM
I'm having trouble finding resources to learn how a blimp works. In a scene in my story, a blimp gets shot at that doesn't immediately go down (giving enough time for evacuations to happen/fixing it). The main characters don't know much about what's going on, but I need to learn a little bit about the mechanics so I can accurately go about portraying this in the story if it's possible. Another tidbit, the main character's are evacuated fairly quickly, due to their positions in the story.

Most of the stuff I'm finding has to do with Goodyear.

BDSEmpire
11-01-2012, 11:03 AM
Here is a basic overview: http://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/flight/modern/blimp4.htm

The short version is - you fill a big bag with a gas that's lighter than air. Once you have enough volume of lighter-than-air gas it will start lifting up your basket or whatever you have slung underneath.

Here is a company making a go at creating a fleet of heavy lifting airships: http://www.howstuffworks.com/cargolifter.htm/printable

If you shoot the gas bag, you'll put a hole in the fabric and it will start leaking gas. The more gas that leaks, the faster the whole zeppelin will sink down to the ground. The fabric is pretty tough stuff so a simple pistol won't do much of anything, you'll need to tear big holes to really affect the lift of a full-size airship.

TheIT
11-01-2012, 11:50 AM
Try searching resources for "airship" as well as blimp. A friend of mine did a panel for a steampunk convention on the science of airships. There was a reference book about it published this year.

Bufty
11-01-2012, 06:01 PM
I always regarded a blimp as a tethered and unmanned hovering deterrent for aircraft/bombers.

King Neptune
11-01-2012, 06:07 PM
Assuming that the blimp is filled with Helium and has many cells in it, rather than just being a single huge bag, then it will not go down from a single shot. Reasonalby modern lighter than air craft are very difficult to make crash. If youn want something that will crash, then make an old-fashioned blimp with one huge bag filled with hydrogen. Even then it will take quite some time for it to empty from a single hole.

veinglory
11-01-2012, 07:15 PM
First you would need to decide what kind of blimp this is. There are good reference books but they don't apply to a generic design.

Michael Davis
11-02-2012, 12:08 AM
You need to have the character shoot at the center of mass so the bullet passes through multiple storage bags. Shoot at the top of bottom with a couple runs and unlikely you'll bring it down. Also have him use a tact rifle like an AR 15 semi automatic (Bushmaster is a nice brand). You can strafe down the center beam 10 to 15 shots and probably bring it down. Remember modern blimps use Helium (inert) vs Hydrogen (flammable) like the old ones so don't expect an explosion.

Dave Hardy
11-02-2012, 12:33 AM
I always regarded a blimp as a tethered and unmanned hovering deterrent for aircraft/bombers.

Blimps can be powered dirigibles too. They just lack the skeleton that goes inside a zeppelin so they are smaller. The blimp has a single gasbag, while the zeppelin has gas cells. You can climb around inside on the skeleton and even walk on top of the zep.

Drachen Jager
11-02-2012, 12:53 AM
It's easy to remember which is which. The blimp got its name when an RAF officer slapped the side of one. He thought the sound it made was 'blimp'.

So now you know.

I guess it's no stranger than how armoured tanks got their name, or how people came to believe carrots were especially good for your eyesight.

Rufus Coppertop
11-07-2012, 08:02 PM
Blimps can be powered dirigibles too. They just lack the skeleton that goes inside a zeppelin so they are smaller. The blimp has a single gasbag, while the zeppelin has gas cells. You can climb around inside on the skeleton and even walk on top of the zep.
If they lack the skeleton then they are not dirigibles.

The very essence of a dirigible is that it has a skeleton.

Dave Hardy
11-07-2012, 08:18 PM
If they lack the skeleton then they are not dirigibles.

The very essence of a dirigible is that it has a skeleton.

I don't think so, dirigible derives from Latin, dirigere, to direct, steer, thus a lighter-than-air craft that can be controlled (as opposed to a drifting balloon). That's pretty much the definition I always find.

Interesting factoid, there's now a market for RC blimps. You can use an RC blimp for situations where you need slow movement and lots of hover time. Doing surveys on the outside of tall buildings, for example. They are cheaper than helicopters. A few years back I watched one doing fly-bys of the Texas Capitol, quite a sight.

Rufus Coppertop
11-08-2012, 03:18 PM
You know, I just had to check that because I've always been 100% sure that dirigible means "having a skeleton".

But...you're absolutely correct.

Trebor1415
11-08-2012, 04:27 PM
How are they going to evacuate the blimp? I'm not aware of any current process for evacuating say, the Goodyear blimp, during flight.

My understanding is that in an emergency the procedure would be to attempt a safe landing and then evacuate.

Trebor1415
11-08-2012, 04:31 PM
Here's some links that may help. Note that the Goodyear blimp is limited to 6 passengers. The first link is a report of a Goodyear blimp fire and crash in Germany that took the life of the pilot.

http://www.airships.net/blog/goodyear-blimp-crash-germany

http://www.goodyearblimp.com/cfmx/web/blimp/passengers/

http://www.airshipventures.com/fly-with-us/pilot-experience