Skyship 500 had proved to be very successful, and
also shown that there was a need for airships in the
fill the demand for more airships, the designers at Airship Industries
agreed that an new ship was required with alarger payload capacity.
It was agree that the original design of the ship was indeed very
sound, and so with a few simple alterations, the Skyship 500 design
was enhanced to become the new Skyship 600.
The main alteration was with the envelope. To offer a greater
payload, the airship benifitted from an advantage in physics over
heavier than aircraft. The extension of the envelope by some 30%
would give an increase in lift by 50%. The new Skyship 600 was
born. With an increased payload, the main role of the ship, passenger
trips, could be enhanced by the ability to carry more passengers.
The gondola enhanced by "streching" the original design and adding
three round windows at the back of the main cabin. The passenger
accommodation increaded to carry 13 passengers in comfort and
crew. With the ability to not only carry more passengers on a
“Skycruise” but to also carry more “multi-role” tasks, the 600
was in demand. Even though the ship now carried more wieght, it's
performance matched that of the 500 by the two porche engines
benifitting from being "turbo charged".
Passenger Layout - Skyship 600 /
The “Skycruise” was so successful, Airship Industries operated
a scheduled air service over the major cities of the world. However
the multi role aspect of the airship was accepted. With all of
the ships benifitting from such a large envelope the aerial advertising
revenue was a good benifit for the company, however this was not
their main role. The ships were used for scheduled passenger flights
over many capitals of the world, the airborne coastal surveillance
was an additional role. The airships were also seen as very stable
and enduring camera platforms used by many television companies
for boradcasting of major events. Unike helicoptors, the airship
provide a durable, low noise, vibration free platform for broadcasters.
Off Shore Configuration - Skyship 600Government
interest in the airship grew as they were proving a reliable and
cheaper alternative to existing facilites. Thier low cost, long
flying durations and stability as aerial platforms were becoming
more attractive for fisheries protection, and surveillance.Important
trials were carried out with the French Navy and American Government
during the 1980’s. A Skyship 600 was adapted with a winch system
in the gondola whereby the ship sucessfully lowered and recovered
a small maritime patrol boat. This
was seen as a great success in the role of the airship being able
to operate in a multitude of enviroments. The ship The Skyship
500 & 600 can still be seen today, 20 years after the initial
prototype took off. In
1988 the 600 series were distributed throughout the world. Many
of them are re-fitted and still in operation today operated by
many airship management companies.
enhancements to the Skyship 600 - December 2002
December 23rd 2002 the FAA certified the apty named "Santos-Dumont",
new Skyship 600, with Lycoming engine propulsion system. Based
out of Elizabeth City N.C the ship operated by Airship Management
Services was launched with new outfitted with Textron Lycoming
IO-540 engines, a vectorable thrust outboard propulsion system
that required a Supplemental Type Certificate. FAA officials awarded
the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) following a series of
flight performances on Skyship N606SA.
new Textron Lycoming IO-540 twin outboard vectorable thrust
are mounted in swiveling, ducted fans, and each produce 300 hp.
They replace the original Porsche 930 turbine inboard engines
of 255 hp that have powered the Skyship 600 series since its introduction
The new propulsion system enhances the aircraft's capability for
hovering and holding station; facilitates faster takeoffs, quicker
response in landings, and boosts overall in-flight maneuverability.
new airship was named in honor of Alberto Santos-Dumont, the Brazilian
aviation pioneer who won the Deutsch Prize in Paris by becoming
the first to fly a dirigible in controlled flight around the Eiffel
Tower more than 100 years ago (in 1901) and who later introduced
powered fixed-wing flight to Europe.
Outfitted with a new envelope from TCOM L.P., "Santos-Dumont"
made its maiden test flight on January 18 of 2002.
Currently, Skyship 600s are the largest and most comfortable passenger-carrying
airships in the world, offering a spacious cabin with abundant
headroom, windows that open in flight, first class seating, a
galley for serving food and beverages, and a lavatory. They have
the highest rated payload capacity available today and have proven
their reliability all over the world.