This is a question that I pose for people anywhere to think about and answer because, where I reside, the government’s tax authority for Inland Revenue used a ploy recently to say that pursuit of lighter-than-air (LTA) solutions for airships and other LTA aircraft development is a hobby. The result of this ploy was that I had to pay back a considerable sum of money (for an individual) they previously allowed for expenses incurred in pursuing the business and now no longer get tax relief for it. I now also can’t recover value added tax on business purchases either. Naturally, I think it’s an abuse of power by them that is unlawful, but fighting such people is rather difficult.
I guess my question could have been put in a different way (e.g. are airships wanted?), as this affects the airship industry generally and the pursuit of Luffships (new offerings); where, at the moment there are very few in service. The reason appears to be twofold:
1) Numerous other businesses pitched in with huge transport category projects when none existed and then failed to deliver, upsetting everyone.
2) At the low normal/commuter end of the industry, existing types are having a hard time against other new ways of doing things (drones, the internet, social media, to name a few) so are closing their operations.
I think that new ways are needed, which Luffships.com was set up to provide, but realise that there’s no point in pursuing them if not supported! Well, should I continue?
Answers would be appreciated.
Luffships.com Founder and Technical Leader
Ajay Goyal says
I just released my UTube Chaanel zeropollution2050 with Videos on the above subject. I hope you will look at it. In Part-III as I present the Challenged facing a 100% Solar System thevissue of converting Air Transportation is briefly addressed.
• I have looked at the possibility of using permanently afloat LTA InterContinental Cruisers using Helium (approx 1km2 deck for 14-15,000 Passengers) that stay aloft with about 150-200 MWe Solar Power , on the top surface, providing all Energy needs.
Smaller Electric Shuttles (catapulted during take off… and gliding down for arriving passenfers etc… to reduce Battery Size/Load) coukd provide a FULL ELECTRIC SOLUTION using Clean Solar Energy ONLY….
I would like to initiate discussion on this subject with your Organization and look forward to hearing from you… to take this forwardvand hopefully obtain Govt. Funding as per your above blog…..
Karl Swanson says
Spiders use charged filaments to create lift. I understand that there is a voltage gradient between the earths surface and upper atmosphere of about 100 volts for every meter or so.
Could it also be that the space between the filaments is repelling gas thus creating a lower density of air within their confines and so creating higher buoyancy?
I am not an engineer so forgive me if this is a foolish question.
Dr. Manish Tripathi says
I am Dr. Manish Tripathi, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at IIT Bombay. As a postdoctoral fellow, I am part of the Lighter-Than-Air Systems Laboratory at IIT Bombay. This lab, established in the year 2002, has been spearheading research in Lighter-Than-Air systems since its inception with its project endeavors spanning across various national as well as international organizations including DRDO, ISRO and Texas A&M University and many more. Its research team (past and present members) under the aegis of Prof. Rajkumar S. Pant, has been actively contributing towards the research, development and fabrication of different components related to LTA systems. The publications of more than 200 publications authored/co-authored by Prof. Rajkumar S. Pant and/or other members of LTA lab are a testimony to its technical know-how as well as research standards, ethics and dedication towards the development of LTA systems.
The LTA systems lab will be completing 20 years of its research journey in the month of June-2022. In this regard, our LTA Lab team is planning to organize the first ever International conference event on LTA systems at IIT Bombay between 22-26 June, 2022 called the “Design and Engineering of Lighter-Than-Air Systems 2022 (DELTAs-2022)”. DELTAs-2022 Is a first-of-its-kind event on LTA systems in the Indian sub continent. This technology driven LTA event is scheduled to be held during 22-26 June 2022 at the IIT Bombay Campus. Through this international event, we envision bringing together global experts and industrialists in the field of LTA systems, while also creating awareness about the relevance of carrying out research in the field of LTA systems for realizing the long-standing dream of a conservative future for aerial cargo transportation and aerial reconnaissance.
The conference will be commenced by a one day pre-conference workshop on 22 June 2022, in which an overview of LTA systems will be provided to the participants. This will be followed by technological and hands-on demonstrations of products related to various companies linked with LTA research and development. The following two days will encompass technical presentations given by the paper presenters including students, scientists, practicing engineers and research scholars from Indian as well as International organizations. The conference will also host a number of keynote presentations given by eminent experts from organizations linked with LTA technology like The Airship Association (UK), IMIEU U-LTA, DRDO, Indian Armed Forces and many more. The final two days will be dedicated to a practical “hands-on” exposure to the interested participants through a series of air sports competitions between several Remote Controlled Airship Models. The competition will follow the international sporting code as given by the Fédération Aeronautique Internationale (FAI). In order to successfully organize the said event, we seek financial as well as logistical support from various organizations and companies. Many reputed companies like The Airship Association, IMIEU U-LTA, Aeronautical Society of India, Institution of Engineers (India), Metacomp Technologies, Inc., and Empyreal Galaxy have already given their consents to be a part of this event.
We, here at the LTA systems lab, envision that airships will play a key role in determining the future for cargo transportation and have been working on that mission for 20 years. The purpose of our conference is to gather like-minded people and bring them together under the same roof to popularize and create awareness about the importance of LTA systems for the future of green aviation. We firmly believe that such an event will promote the exchange of knowledge and will provide ample opportunities for airship companies to promote their products/ services on a wider scale including students, engineers, scientists, prospective investors and academicians.
Considering your experience in the field of LTA systems and inspired by your contributions in the field of LTA systems through several of your project endeavours involving aerostats, and airships, I am sure that a collaboration between LuffShips and DELTAs-2022 will be beneficial to you as well as our audience and participants. Thus, the organizing team of DELTAs-2022 would like to invite LuffShips to be a part of this event through the following ways of participation:
a. Be a Sponsor through a monetary donation (Company logo will be attached on the call for papers and relevant promotional documents/ sites)
b. Stall demonstration of key technological achievements relevant to LuffShips.
c. A sponsored keynote session by you will be highly beneficial for the participants.
I am sure that this collaboration between LuffShips and DELTAs-2022 will bring a great deal of credibility and relevance to this event as well as further amplify our efforts to create a scientific culture for developing future proof green aviation technologies and help us realize the much needed eco-friendly future for aviation.
You can also visit our website at http://www.deltas2022.in as well as our social media profiles at twitter, linkedIn, facebook, Instagram and blogspot.com.
You can also contact us with our email ID: or via an appropriate video conference based meeting session. We can arrange a zoom meeting to discuss the modalities of our association.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Ajay Goyal says
Dear Dr Tiwari,
I was not aware of your LTA Activities at IIT Mumbai.
I live in Gurgaon and retired in 2005 after 35 years working mostly in the USA and Canada. I am a Graduate from BITS, PIlani 1969 Batch.
As part of my (re)search” on the effects of Pollution…. I was appalled and have released several Videos on the subject and also have provided a Solution for a ZERO POLLUTION Earth/Bharat. See…. youtube channel zeropollution2050 …
PART -III covers the many Challenges to usher a Zero Pollution Earth/Bharat and Long Distance (specially InterContinental Travel) is particularly Challenging. [Shorter Distances are being handled quite well by High-Speed Trains and soon the ZPV … Zero Pollution Vehicles … too].
If one does not want to use Polluting Combustion Technologies, & Heavy & Toxic Wate producing Dead Batteries are also out of consideration; then some form of LTA Technology needs to be considered that eliminates the energy needs for “levitation” of the craft… and ONLY require Energy for (Forward, Reverse, Maneuvering etc..) Thrust purposes.
Therefore, I developed the LTA-ICC (LTS-InterContinrntal Cruiser) and proposed its use in Part-III of the above Videos.
This 1km2 craft, that hovers.. 30-50,000ft… and “never lands”, with a similar exposure of the roof to the sun, can generate about 200-250 MW of Electricity (USING TODAYS TECHNOLOGY) as it exploits the Clear Skies and Increased Solar Insolation at the High(er) Altitudes. About 200-250,000 HP is expected to would be available for Thrust Purposes… with the Balance for LTA-ICC “House Keeping”.
The LTA-ICC uses the ISS.. International Space Station … Shuttle Model… with Shuttles ferrying Passengers, Baggage, Supplies, Crew, Maintenance Staff and Waste Handling too.., between the LTA-ICC and Airport (type) Facilities below. These Shuttles can be powered by Solar Energy from the Ground as is already being done at present, but needs to be ramped up in size/volume… to supplement/replace the current passenger aircraft.
Each LTA-ICC, with a Triple Deck (3km2 or 3Million m2 area) would carry 15,000 Passengers, Crew, Staff, Equipment and provide FULL SERVICE & FACILITIES (Lounges, Cabins, Showers, Restaurants/Bars, Gym etc etc..) in place of the “Packed Sardine” Model of today’s Air Travel.
[12,000 Passengers paying a$500-800. each…. say average of $600.. for across the Globe Travel … would generate an Annual Revenue of $2.5 Billion/yr.
With $1 Billion for Payment of Annual Mortgage on the LTA-ICC .. it can support an Investment of$12-15Billion each.
The Balance $1.5 Billion will be for LTA-ICC O&M, Profits etc.. etc….
12-15 Nos. LTA-ICC could meet the Inter-Continental Travel Needs of 50-100 Million Passengers annually (some passengers will be taking shorter rides)
I propose we join our efforts, together with GOI, in developing the above Concept… Culminating in a detailed Conceptual Design and possibly a scaled Model too…. and possibly even some “full-size” mock up of portions… (No Charge for my Time..).
While it would be nice to have a Multi-Billion Dollar Budget…. one must remember each participant brings to the table at least $100-200,000/yr of “Human Investment”…. as one Capitalizes the power of Internet, E-Simulations, etc…
Please feel free to contact me