Aeroscraft ML866


Aeroscraft ML866 is a proposed new type of airborne vehicle that combines buoyancy (as in an airship) with dynamic lift (as in an aeroplane or helicopter).

Designed by airship manufacturer Aeros and unveiled in October, the Aeroscraft promises to take off and land vertically - meaning it will not require an airport - and can hover. It will be able to travel up to 222kph and have a range of 5,000km.

The craft, described as a "bouyancy assisted air vehicle," can be configured for passenger, private or cargo uses.

See our earlier story on the Strato Cruiser luxury airship concept; and our more recent story on Jean-Marie Massaud's Manned Cloud airship.

Here is some text from the manufacturer:


A new paradigm in air transport is born with the advent of the Aeroscraft - an aircraft that utilizes adjustable buoyant and dynamic lift, creating unique capabilities beyond what is available from any other air platform today.

The Aeroscraft is designed and built on the basis of a new concept in flight. This remarkable idea grew out of the belief that there is a more comfortable way to fly than simply applying a luxury upgrade to an existing airframe and re-naming it.

The capabilities of the Aeroscraft lead to its unique functionality. Use the Aeroscraft as a private sky yacht, traveling beyond the ocean, or as a fully functional business office and conference center. The luxury appointment options are endless, limited only by your imagination. The Aeros design team will help translate your dreams into an airborne reality.

Posted on Tuesday December 11th 2007 at 8:48 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • I don’t really buy the it doesn’t need an airport argument as it is unlikely that you’ll be able to land it anywhere – except your back garden!

    It’s certainly a spectacle though but given that a 747 travels at up to 800 kph I’m not sure if these are really viable except for the mega rich or for huge public occasions – like the Olympic opening ceremony for example.

  • JQL

    You could make a flying luxury house, or if you would think socially a flying library or a flying hospital for undeveloped countries. Of course I wouldn’t know the costs of such an operation.

  • I love it….its a bit obese! but may ccreate a luxury air cruising culture…its great


  • The design of this ‘thing’ is really lacking. It looks like a product from Pimp my Ride.

  • Sy

    Strikingly similar to the Thunderbird 2!!

  • paul n

    It has great retro sci fi styling, plus it would crash more slowly. imagine all the suburban kids trapped at home being able to look up in the sky and see such a thing making its stately progress across the sky.

  • Bozo

    Ohhhh the humanity

  • JE Trentham

    I think this type of craft is very exciting!
    I think if the design is done well you would be looking at a great fuel saver that would help the environment with a much smaller carbon foot print in the Aeroscraft ML866. I think this will become far more important. The speed is pretty good if you consider you are going to have a fraction of the impact on the environment that a normal jet-liner would have. You could also utilize lots of smaller airport facilities designed for small private aircraft, I read there are like 10,000 small airports in the US designed for private aircraft. That would be a natural fit of these aircraft. It would be much safer and faster than taking the bus or a train to your destination and much less damaging to the environment.

  • Alexis

    I think that it is a great idea for cargo, i rely would like to know its cost for this purpose.

  • Don K

    What does not seem to be discussed is how all these lighter that air crafts will be affected by the Worldwide Shortage of Helium.

  • Ken

    If I totalled up all the stories about the “new series of airships about to launch” over the past 10 or 15 years, I’d probably hit triple digits…..

  • vroman

    beautifully combines my two favorite concepts: “slow-moving” and “lens flares”

  • erexx


    As a cargo ship it could prove to be very practical.
    For the tourist thats not in a hurry it could be a spectacular way to travel.

  • SMence

    I am not sure how useful this would be for military aspects as it is a large, slow moving target, that would probably not hold up under fire… it should be renamed the armor-less armadillo…
    And at least fill it with anything close to an inert gas…

  • Rob

    One thing keeps echoing in my head: heavy cross winds.

    It’s a beautiful thing from the point of view of efficiency, particularly as long as it’s going downwind. But anything with such a large profile is going to be heavily influenced by air currents, which I imagine could really make landing difficult.

  • BlindDog

    They could mount thin-film solar planels on it. If it travels above the clouls it would have sunshine all day, and with that size you could possibly sell the excess. But maybe those panels are too heavy, or the batteries.

  • Mike

    Dean Ing, an engineer who works in the aerospace field, wrote a Science Fiction book in 1988 called The Big Lifters. Among other things, he discussed an aerodynamic airship that modified it’s bouyancy using fast pumps to compressed/release helium for a heavy lift cargo ship that could, among other things, remove and place on standardized cargo containers onto a MOVING train. He also saw Middle Eastern suicide bombers being used for terrorist activities in the U.S. Good book, very forward thinking. In the book Systemic Shock, he also showed how one of these things would fare in a hostile environment.

  • So, that would be 30 hours for a flight to paris from toronto. Right now for a 7-8 hour flight, having to be at the airport 3 hours in advance, plus an hour to get out to airport. For a flight 3x as long, I’d love to just be lounging in a flying hotel that could dock downtown.

  • Rufus

    So, I think the question is, how much more economic will it be? How much less traditional fuel will it use? What alternate fuel will it use?
    I mean, all these electric and hybrid cars, they aren’t for the average consumer either. But ya gotta ask, who does MOST of the traveling? Business class or the mega rich?
    The only thing that electric and hybrid cars are good for is making the rich feel less guilty about their lives. It doesn’t actually do any good unless you can get something the average consumer can use, because there are more average consumers tan there are mega rich…
    So if this thing uses the same amount of fuel that a cruise ship uses, or if it uses the same amount of fuel that a 747 uses, what good is it? It won’t stop pollution, it won’t get you there faster, it isn’t anything but a novelty for the rich, so they can spend, pollute, and go back to their over priced hybrid and feel good about saving the planet…
    Also, how would it survive a hurricane or other storm? Can it travel above the storm? Can it land in a storm? Does it have a reserve of fuel great enough for an alternate landing if adverse conditions prevent it at is original, intended location?
    Can it be maneuvered if it runs out of fuel? What about a crash? Does it have parachutes for each passenger? This smacks of Titanic…if something goes wrong, what is the safety procedure?
    Too many questions, not enough answers…right now I would say “gee that is neat” but “I don’t think it is at all beneficial” which would lead me to say, “what good is it”?

  • Forrest

    These are wonderful designs.

    My concern these days is of course terrorism. Everyone is afraid… that someone will do this and that. Will that prevent the deployment of such wonderful ships? Or has the FAA (et al) fallen prey to fear propaganda.

  • Everyone speaks of how slow it is. Are they any specifications as to what speed it may travel? I realize it’s an obese structure, but it does have small wings; suggesting that perhaps this guy can move.

  • The real question is the amount of fuel consumption, fully loaded to travel 5000km. Imagine trading in your Harvester International for one of those!

  • both_at_once

    @paul_n, @Bozo —

    A friend of mine lived in NYC in the days of the Zeppelin. He recounts walking near the Flatiron building one day and, looking up, seeing the Hindenburg majestically passing the Empire State Building. That night, he heard the news from New Jersey.

  • HT

    Don’t think of it as an airplane, think of it as a cruise-ship-in-air. So instead of the 8+ hours of trans ocean flight in cramped cabin, onerous security requirements and the catastrophic failure if something goes wrong, you’d just go on a luxury cruise that happened to fly you to your destination. Since it would be a damn much harder to cause a bad accident with these things, you could cut security to a minimum as well.

    With shorter flights it would be nice too. Instead of the 1+ hour security line and another hour in flight, you could probably leave half the time for the airport while the flight itself would take about three times longer – again with luxurious space and safety.

  • Peter

    Helium will get costly.

    Did they knew that in about 8 years we are out of helium
    The price of helium will go sky high in this vehicle.
    Unless they will use hydrogen, it’s not a realistic producing this ship in the near future. All to it’s a nice idea.

  • Optimist

    Rufus; although you have a couple of good questions, you come across a little negative. I may be wrong, but you come across that way to me, and I find that a little sad. Inventions and stories about things that may come should give hope and inspire people.
    You’re right about hybrid cars that they don’t really do much good beyond making rich people feel better, they still run on regular gasoline and only minimally improve mileage, but they represent a paradigm shift, a new thinking. The rich obviously don’t have problems filling up their cars with $4 gas, but they want to make a statement that they want change, they want a better world and they have the money to demonstrate that. New technology is always expensive, but thanks to the early adopters the rest of us can get in on the fun a little later.
    I hope to see airships like this in the future, and if somebody can make money off it we will. This airship will not replace any 747 but be a supplement. It may replace some cruise ships and some cargo ships, if the capacity and price is right.
    Look at what makes this thing better than a cargo ship, it can go in a straight line instead of around the coast line, not limited to water so it can transport to remote locations on land, and it is a lot faster than cargo ships. On the “needs improvement” side I suspect price pr cubic meter/kg of cargo will be high, but comparable to air-cargo, maneuvering in heavy winds.
    About propulsion systems I believe we will see that electricity will be the most efficient way to go. I believe ethanol is a dead end that makes absolutely no sense to anybody besides some crazy farmers. Hydrogen is not much better in regards to fuel because it is so hard to produce, transport, store, and there are energy losses at every stop on the way, plus its not really a fuel at all but an energy bearer. Hydrogen is promoted by those who wants to keep the status quo by selling a fuel.
    I will suggest to run this blimp on electricity from an on-board micro nuclear reactor, if they can make it safe in case this thing is hit by a rocket propelled grenade or any high velocity crash etc.
    But I have also read news stories about new battery technologies that will improve battery capacities ten fold, new thin film solar panels that are both cheaper and more effective, so have I have hope for a brighter future both in the air and on the ground.

  • Why this new airship is clever it uses an aerodynamic wing profile to the main hull to obtain additional lift when it is moving forward,
    allowing it to cruise at significantly higher altitude than it’s boyancy level alone would allow. Could even take off horizontall if it had Excess Load (at landing it’s allways lighter to land as it’s fuel would be used up).

    Also why not run it on hydrogen using fuel-cell technology the large interior allows uncompressed hydrogen fuel to provide boyancy, and of course sourrounding the hydrogen fuel bladder with non combustable helium means it’s very safe to use – Helium would still be the main lift gass.
    Regarding people taking pot shots at it – even at 2Km a typical rifle round may still have enough energy to damage – bullets dont slow due to gravity (gravity is only 9.8m/s) it’s air resistance that slows them shooting upwards the air getts thinner so even less resistance. Still woven kevlar ,glass or aramid fibres to the skin-hull and a few pin pricks wont be a problem anyway. Even hitting the hydrogen fuel baldder would take days to leak enough hydrogen into the helium to provide a fire hazard outside the hull – plenty of time for repairs to be done.

    Think this ship is really good idea , awesome for sightseeing , land at major tourist attractions , cruise the coast , quite , plenty of room in cabins space on airships is almost free – it’s the weight that costs.
    In a place like hong-kong or singapore where realestate is at a premium and harbour space is too this as a mobile office or meeting center would be awesome.
    Vertical take off and landing and with the wonders of modern avionics, weather prediction etc would be easy to fly it.

  • Bob

    I think your missing the point.

    If your looking at moving a large amount to goods from one place to another AND there are no roads to the location this might be the best option.

    For example in Alaska and some other states, there are parts of the state without roads or interstate size roads. If what you want to move is big or heavy you fly it there. With the size of the runway, cost of fuel often it becomes wait until the right time to year to move it up the river. Then your still out of luck if the destination is not on the river.

    I have been thinking of this for years and hope they finally make it work. They should stop putting helium in toy balloons and do like they do for freon. Keep the Helium enclosed, recycle it!

    Hope this is not like the last 30 years of they are back…

  • Just think about 9/11 if they used these instead of planes…

  • Keith

    Optimist, you make some good points. However, I disagree on the rich making the paradigm shift viable to hybrid automobiles. It is going to be economically driven commercial applications. One only needs to look at Vancouver, Canada and the adoption of hybrids by the taxi industry. Having lived and worked in Vancouver, I am very sensitive to the fact that the taxi industry’s preferred automobile is the Toyota Prius not because of its ‘green’ aspects from an environmental perspective, but rather the other ‘green’ aka money. Anyone who understands that hybrids automobiles really shine in stop and go traffic and puts that together with the type of traffic a major urban centre like Vancouver has and the fact that the average Vancouver taxicab puts on about 100,000 kms per year, and it becomes pretty apparent why Vancouver cab companies consider the Prius, ‘the most profitable vehicle they can operate’. Likewise, these airships will have to prove themselves in a commercial application. Perhaps point to point global transportation of perishables such as fruits and vegetables. Think of the shrinkage that could be avoided if mandarins could be placed directly on one of these things from their orchards in Japan or China and transported directly to Chicago, Detroit, etc. without repackaging and at a speed considerably faster than a container ship. Thee might be a real economic sweet spot there.

  • I think it would be interesting to make a solid lighter-than-air filler in the form of an aerogel with interstitial helium. This would prevent helium loss.

  • These are some fantastically sublime blimps.

  • Rickie

    Plenty of helium in the moon. Why do you think there’s so much interest in going back there?
    If this craft does fly, there’ll be plenty of reports of UFOs!

  • Robert Platter

    A couple of points that occured to me while reading the comments.
    Helium is one of the most common elements in the universe. We just need to figure out where to get it from.
    With a surface area as large as this thing will have, Solar power can easly provide at least part of the propulsion energy. There will probably have to be supplemental sources, but this has a large sun visible surface that could easly be used to collect solar power.

    I am concerned with how this will handle in cross winds or heavy weather. Even though we have decent weather forecasts now and should be able to route this around bad weather, what happens if this gets trapped in an area where it can’t escape. Can it survive on the ground? Will a hanger be needed? etc.

    While this does allow point to point transport of goods to remote locations. Admitably there will always be some demand for remote access, I don’t think it has the capacity to handle LARGE counts of goods. Maybe two containers worth. Will this be a cost effective amount or will it be regulated to special needs. (Check passenger count if you think this will handle large weight, Light bulky things are easy, but a large amount of heavy things probably not)

    I like the idea of transportable services. Hospitals and such. Things that are mostly empty space. I think libraries will bulk too much to be transportable unless they are reduced to mostly electronic form, but a moving laboratory could be very useful.

    Mobile Command centers and assistance centers are also a good use.
    Think Katrina. Aid could be dropped right where it is needed. The people directing the recovery can hover over where they are needed without leaving their command infrastructure.

    Mobile radio centers for places where services are out. It’s in the air so it has a large line of sight.

    Passenger use, probably not. Maybe for the private jet set. However, If the price was close to that of normal economy air fair, I would chose this even though it is slower. I would enjoy the ability to move around and the space per passenger. While not overweight, I am a large person and my shoulders are wider than the space allowed in normal economy seats. Not to mention leg room. I’ll build in the extra day for the travel.

  • Simon Gunson, NZ

    Robert Platter is quite correct that the surface area offers the opportunity for flexible solar cells to collect power.

    Also because airships rarely fly above 17,000 feet engines could operate on biofuels rather than kerosene.

    Normally biofuel is not an option because it gells at low temperatures, but it would not affect this craft below 12,000ft.

    It’s fuel economics alone make it very promising

  • Jim Townsley

    Properly handled, hydrogen is the best lifting AND propulsion gas. Folks always remember the few minutes of tragedy at Lakehurst, while forgetting (ignoring?) the thirty-some YEARS of safe, scheduled, transcontinental transport provided by Zeppelins- without a single passenger life lost. Can you recall which thirty years the world airlines went without a single fatality?? {NO-cause there ain’t none! But ya keep gettin’ on those planes, don’t ya?} So why the fear to get on a hydrogen-filled, spacious, quiet, environmentally-friendly, airship??

    Modern materials and technology, radar, geo-sats, etc.., can all be combined to offer an alternative, SAFE transport method. Every drop of fossil fuel we use is a one-way trip closer to exhaustion (if we don’t cook ourselves out of the running first).

    Airships can be repaired in-flight (when’s the last time you saw THAT done on a 747?). Current and near-term regenerative fuel cell technology can present a near or actual closed-loop energy system.

    I just wish I had MORE disposable funds- ’cause I’d be putting the major portion of it into LTA construction….

    “Up Ship!” anybody???

  • David

    As for some of the nay-sayers:

    With a deck size of over an acre it would be very easy to accomadate enough passangers to allow for travel cost that match or perhaps come in less than that of a traditional aricraft

    As for parachutes I did not see any on my last flight to Russia or on the return trip so there would be no difference here

    Emergency landing would seem to me to be much easier to accomidate than say a 747 which requires something like a two mile runway – this thing could land at many private runways as well as many open fields – with the possibility of taking off again – try that in a 747

    Cross winds could be a problem however, someone with more knowledge of the ships aerodynamics would have to answer that – although I’m willing to bet there are very practical soulituions

    As for fuel conservation – if the ship can carry say twice the passanger load of a 747 with the same fuel comsumption then we have just made it twice as economical to fly, requiring half sa many craft in the air to carry the same amount of passangers – sounds like good savings to me

  • treehugger1213

    I think its a brilliant idea. Its gas efficient and is friendly to the atmosphere. I grew up wishing airships were still afloat. I thought it would be fascinating to be a crew-member

  • i will build it

    if they won’t make it i don’t see why we couldn’t make a smaller one. could reuse the helium using it like ballasts to help stabilize it and to keep it firmly on the ground in case winds pick up. cross winds probably won’t be a concern, the sides can be rounded to be aerodynamic enough to lower the drag coefficient sufficiently. new technologies in light weigh flexible solar panels are getting mainstream at only about 8% efficiency compared to solid panels at around 16% i believe, they’ll mature. using lithium batteries and a small generator like a plug in hybrid and there you got the propulsion for the craft and power for the helium compressor. if one were produced privately and proved to work then larger scaled version would pop up everywhere. the RMS queen Elizabeth 2 ship has a gas mileage of about 0.009375 mile/imperial gallon. with a 1777 passenger limit its larger but a large scale of this hybrid aircraft using almost no fuel i don’t see why it couldn’t do better. the technology is there it just needs to get built, matured and proven to work.

  • yoyo

    hey it’s great idea to do tht shit boys u boys should do it… im proud at u boys.

  • Chris Emmett

    Hey people of the world , What is it that makes it so different, to PLanes. You got it one. No sitting on long haul flights anymore. You can walk around or lie down, and less chance of it crashing or engine failure. Would certainly pay the money to get on one of these. Round about now is when they should put them out as most plane companies are going bust over the rising cost of fuel. This airship above would be the mummy of all Airships. Imagine dinning at one end and dancing the night away in the sky at the other end. Oh Aeroscraft hurry up please and roll out this for production. For the people who cant afford the new Airbus this would be ten times better.

  • patrick mckenna

    why does half the peole here make this out to be the worsed thing ever made IT IS COOL

  • Mike E Lyons

    if they filled it with nothing would that not be lighter than air someone tell me why that is not possible.

    the frame in the illustrations is a good start now add helium or nothing filled wings and solar collectors to drive electric propellers

  • Will there be any Switchable Glass on board?