Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s airship company, LTA Research, has received a green light from the FAA to fly the Pathfinder 1 airship.
Airships were a common sight nearly a century ago, before the Hindenburg disaster sounded the death knell for the industry. With climate change a growing threat, and advancements in electric vehicles, airships are poised for a comeback.
According to IEEE Spectrum, LTA Research has received FAA clearance to fly its Pathfinder 1 airship. The airship uses helium, rather than the explosive hydrogen gas that doomed the Hindenburg, and uses electric motors to achieve up to 120 kilometers per hour. LTA Research plans to use the airships for cargo and humanitarian missions.
“Pathfinder 1’s experimental flight test program is to demonstrate and establish the flight envelope for the airship…. LTA’s test plan is tailored to include substantial indoor and outdoor ground testing, using a build-up approach to gradually increase the flight envelope,” the company wrote in its application to the FAA.
If LTA Research is successful, the company could help usher in a new golden era of airships.