A personal helium dirigible or blimp, is one of those fun
inventions that we all dream about at times. Flying has a lot
of attraction, of course, but could a personal-size blimp be
a practical mode of transportation? I think "maybe"
is the answer for now.
How My Blimp Would Work
A streamlined blimp could have a control center suspended
below it. This is where the user would sit, and operate the controls.
A small motor should be sufficient for steering and slow forward
propulsion, by powering a propeller and something to to direct
The primary design goal would be reducing the weight of all
parts as much as possible, in order to keep the unit smaller
and more maneuverable. An outside "cage" or other control
area would be made of aluminum, perhaps. There would have to
be a spare tank of helium for emergency lift.
Another possibility is to have the operator provide the propulsion
and steering power. This might be accomplished with "pedal
power." Most likely, the slightest breeze would be too much
for a human powered blimp to fight against, so there would have
to be a back-up motor.
Safety would be a big concern. An on board tank with helium
could provide emergency lift. If the whole concept of people
wandering around the skies in their blimps turns out to be too
dangerous, there are other options. One of these would be to
have this built as a novelty, and tethered, so users could fly
around within a thousand feet or so.