RbSned wrote:Since airships have a huge surface area why not cover the outer surface with solar panels and use the power to drive the props?
His Majesty's Canadian Airship CR.3 "Alexander Mackenzie" was designed to provide transportation of large cargoes to communities north of the Arctic Circle. Roughly the same size as HMA R505 Flying Cloud, her solar panels take advantage of the "midnight sun" in the arctic summers, and avoid difficulties with diesel fuel in low temperatures. Her design is simplified into three simple shapes to simplify my math. Er, I mean, to simplify construction! yeah. This gives her a somewhat more bulbous appearance than her counterpart, but slightly more surface area for solar panels, and more volume for lift.
Length/Diameter: 560 ft / 105 ft
hemisphere 52.5 ft rad, 2D profile of 4330 sq.ft
cylinder 317.5 ft long, 2D profile 33337 sq.ft
cone 190 ft long, 2D profile 9975 sq.ft
(let's ignore putting solar panels on the fins for now)
TOTAL 2D PROFILE: 47642 sq.ft
Commercial solar panels are producing around 12 watts per square foot, that gives us about 572 kW of power, equivalent to around 767 horsepower. Really good panels will crank out 15 W/sq.ft, for 715 kW = 958 HP. That's roughly equivalent to ONE of the Flying Cloud's three engines.
The HMCA Mackenzie, underpowered, was wrecked during a landing attempt in fierce northern winds at Yellowknife in June, 1929...