Aeroscraft Corporation has announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted Aeros a patent (U.S. Pat. No. 9,266,597) for a major sub-system on the Aeroscraft cargo airship. The Utility Patent covers the multi-functional 'Aerostructure for Rigid Body Airship,' or 'Aeroshell,' which defines the outer shape of the lighter-than-air (LTA) vehicle, while serving structural and operational functions as a unique internal truss system.
The Aeroscraft is a new type of cargo airship or Rigid Variable Buoyancy Air Vehicle, designed to control lift in all stages of air or ground operations including the ability to off-load heavy payloads without the need for external ballast. The key features of the Aeroscraft include an onboard buoyancy management system, rigid structure, vertical takeoff and landing performance, and operational abilities at low speed, in hover, and from unprepared surfaces.
The Aeroshell provides the major external frame of the vehicle, and includes three main structural features: a rigid internal main frame which carries all primary moment and shear loads induced, the vehicle's skin (or envelope) which forms a semi-rigid membrane, and a rigid Aeroshell frame interposed between the main frame and the skin.
According to Aeros, the lightweight rigid structural Aeroshell design provides aerodynamic stability while increasing the aerodynamic lift compared with the cigar shaped hulls of earlier zeppelins, increasing payload accommodation, airspeed and maneuverability, particularly in high wind conditions.