This airship Airlander, the longest aircraft in the world at roughly 91m (300ft), from the US military airship Airlander project, has been brought to Cardington, Bedfordshire, England (home of the R101) for further development by a British company who built it in the first place. In fact the development is taking place in the same hanger used by the R101. Military budget cuts in the US have allowed the Americans to sell it back to the manufacturer – Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV).
It’s an unusual flying object – this SmartInversion – that propels itself by flipping inside out. Created by engineers at Festo in Esslingen, Germany. It was originally reported in a New Scientist blog in April 2012 which is no longer online. I decided to investigate it further and found it in the Festo archives.
What I’ve Found
At the time it didn’t appear to have a name so I called it a Flipping Heck as in, “Flipping heck what is it?” Festo did give it a name apparently. It’s called a SmartInversion. I understand it’s filled with helium to keep it afloat so maybe it’s a Flipping Balloon.