Google Co-Founder Building Longest Aircraft in the World, Will Serve Humanitarian Missions

LTA Pathfinder 1 aircraft to hit the skies by 2030 7 photos
Photo: LTA Research
LTA Pathfinder 1 to hit the skies by 2030LTA Pathfinder 1 to hit the skies by 2030LTA Pathfinder 1 to hit the skies by 2030LTA Pathfinder 1 to hit the skies by 2030LTA Pathfinder 1 to hit the skies by 2030LTA Pathfinder 1 to hit the skies by 2030
Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s airship company Lighter Than Air Research (LTA) has been secretly brewing something big for some years. The secret project was unveiled in October last year as a massive disaster relief airship, which now seems to be in the final planning stages at a facility in Akron, Ohio.
Sergey Brin is known to have a thing for aircraft, and given that his $90 billion allow him to make his dreams come true, he embarked on a mission to build a mammoth airship to be used in disaster relief and humanitarian missions in areas where conventional aircraft has no access.

The project is called Pathfinder 1 and is a 400-foot-long (123-meter), 65-feet-wide (20-meter) new-age zeppelin that could hit the skies in its first test flight in 2023.

To make a better idea about its size, just imagine four Goodyear blimps side by side. It will be the longest aircraft to hit the skies in almost a century. To be more precise, it’s the longest since 1931, when Goodyear delivered the 785-foot USS Macon and USS Akron for the US Navy.

And LTA Research doesn’t plan to stop there; larger craft will be built at the Akron Airdock, with project Pathfinder 3 set to measure no less than 600 feet (183 meters).

Not much is known regarding tech details, but according to previously disclosed information about the project, Pathfinder 1 will weigh in at 28 tons, be able to cruise at 60 knots (111 kmh), and will have a range greater than 2,500 nautical miles.

It will run on lighter-than-air helium and boast an all-electric propulsion system, which will initially be powered by batteries but could run on hydrogen fuel cells in the future to reach the company’s zero-emission goal.

Pathfinder’s internal structure will feature lightweight carbon-fiber tubing, providing it with a sturdy, rigid skeleton that will be covered in a durable outer layer.

Alan Weston, CEO of LTA Research, affirmed in December that Pathfinder 1 will mark “the rebirth of an era when giant lighter-than-air vehicles circled the world” and “a new future for aviation, travel, [and] freight that uses less energy, is quieter, lower cost, [and has] a much smaller carbon footprint than any other form of transportation.”
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About the author: Ancuta Iosub
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After spending a few years as a copy editor, Ancuta decided to put down the eraser and pick up the writer's pencil. Her favorites subjects are unusual car designs, travel trailers and everything related to the great outdoors.
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