What Is Inside An Airship (Part 2)?
An airship looks like a simple air balloon. Most people believe that it functions the same way an air balloon works. However, the working of an airship is somewhat complex and it uses many things like an envelope, nose cone battens, aft ballonet, forward ballonet, catenary curtain, engines, suspension cables, flight control surfaces, elevators, air valves, air scoops, helium valve, and a gondola. Some of these technical terms were explained in part 1 of this article. The remaining terms are explained as below.
In most of the blimps, two engines are used to move ahead. These engines are just like those used in the airplanes, running on gasoline fuel. Moreover, these engine are so powerful, they require fans to cool them down. They have the capacity to generate several thousand horsepower, depending on the design of the blimp. The engines are located on the both sides of gondola. In the early models of blimps, engines were not used. However, by the installation of the engines now modern blimps can fly with more speed (up to 30 to 70 mph)
Air Scoops are used to exhaust air from the propellers, which are then utilized in the ballonets of an airship. Electric fans blow air from the propellers to the ballonets. These Air Scoops are controlled by the pilots using the valves.
Air valves are located inside the ballonets of an airship. Normally four valves (two fore, two aft) are used for venting air from the ballonet.
Helium is used in the airships for lifting purpose. A particular quantity is managed by the pilots in the envelope to maintain the drive of an airship. The role of helium valve is to add or remove the helium gas from the envelope of an airship. Additionally, the pressure of helium gas is maintained using these valves, which is done by changing the amount of air in the ballonets.
Gondola is one of the most important parts of an airship. It is where passengers are held. The capacity of the gondola varies from airship to airship. It usually consists of 2 seats for the pilots and 12 seats for the passengers (total 14 seats). Modern gondolas are designed with added features, including temperature controls - which have the capacity of controlling temperature inside the gondola so that passengers can feel more comfortable. Cameras are also installed in the gondola of an airship. It also includes control panels that are controlled by pilots to for several things like:
Propeller controls (regulate and monitor speed)
Fuel mixture/heat (mixing of fuel)
Envelope pressure controls (controls helium pressure)
Flight surface controls (left, right, upward, downward movement)
Communication equipments (used to communicate with the ground support team and traffic controllers.