Luxury blimps appear to be in the midst of a revival, but Sergey Brin wants to ensure they’re bigger and better than before.
The Google co-founder, now worth more than $90 billion, has been quietly working away on a massive new airship that will be the longest to hit the skies in almost a century.
Brin, who has long had an affinity for all types of aircraft, established a company called Lighter Than Air Research (LTA) back in 2017 to develop the next generation of airships. LTA’s inaugural model is now in the final planning stages at a facility in Akron, Ohio, according to a report in the Akron Beacon Journal.
Christened Pathfinder 1, the new airship is a far cry from the zeppelins of 100 years ago. It is expected to measure 400 feet from tip to tail, while a third iteration dubbed Pathfinder 3 will stretch about 600 feet. That means the proposed Pathfinder models will be the biggest airship built in the country since 1931 when Goodyear completed the 785-foot USS Macon and USS Akron for the US Navy. Like them, the Pathfinder models will run on lighter-than-air helium. It’s non-combustible and far safer than the dangerously flammable hydrogen that was used in the ill-fated, 803-foot Hindenburg. The all-electric propulsion system, meanwhile, will be powered initially by batteries but could run on hydrogen fuel cells in the future. The latter will see the airship produce zero emissions.