Skyship 500 had proved to be very successful, and also shown that
there was a need for airships in the modern age. to
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 On
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
FAA officials awarded the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) following
a series of flight performances on Skyship N606SA.
The new Textron Lycoming IO-540 twin outboard vectorable thrust
engines 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.