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The Invitation: A cruising airship offering exclusive one-week flight excursions​


A cruising airship for VIP excursions

Designed with sightseeing in mind, the Invitation can take off with a dozen VIP passengers and their families

The Invitation is a cruising airship designed to take off with a dozen VIP passengers and their families.

Our Prototypes column introduces new vehicle concepts and presents visuals from designers who illustrate the ideas. Some of them will be extensions of existing concepts, others will be new, some will be production ready, and others really far-fetched.

The Concept

The Invitation is a cruising airship designed to take off with a dozen VIP passengers and their families (48 people) and offer them a very exclusive one-week flight excursion experience. The Invitation would take off on calm days to sail over beautiful landscapes, including large cities, national parks, lakes, etc.

At night, its observation deck would allow for a breathtaking dinner experience under the stars.

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The Context

The Invitation takes its roots in another concept: the Alert Airship. However, while keeping a similar airframe, the Invitation is a cruising vessel that is much more oriented towards entertainment and luxury than its military counterpart. The name 'Invitation' was inspired by a brand of sailboats created by Bombardier back in the 1970's.

How it Works

The Invitation concept is a tourist dirigible created with sightseeing in mind. Its large windows located on each side of the aircraft would offer a wide view for each stateroom, while a panoramic viewing lounge in the front of the airship would offer a frontal vision of the aircraft's path.

The Invitation’s observation deck would allow for a breathtaking dinner under the stars.

The shape of the Invitation is somewhat like traditional airships, but the lighter than air gas envelope and gondola are fused together. It is also equipped with small side wing engines that will propel the aircraft forward and increase its stability. The propellers could be fuelled by solar energy and a combination of fuel cells and batteries. The solar panels could be integrated within the fabric of the balloon, which might also be used as batteries (when the technology exists and when it makes sense in terms of cost and efficiency).

A special landing pad designed for supply drones and aerial vehicles would be located at the top of the Invitation. This pad would be used daily and would be put to the test if an emergency ever occurred on board; two helicopters could anchor themselves on the roof for people to rapidly leave the airship.

At the back of the Invitation, a large cargo bay door would serve as a base jumping pad for skydiving enthusiasts and other extreme sports. A personal flight drone (PFD) based on the airship would pick you up below and lift you back up to the airship. Gliders, or a flying wing like the Ikaros concept, are also possibilities for the base jumping pad.

After a day of activities, passengers could relax at the lounge bar or eat at its intimate restaurant while watching shooting stars and satellites passing overhead.

A large cargo bay door would serve as a base jumping pad for skydiving enthusiasts and other extreme sports.

What It's Used For

Companies could use the Invitation as a VIP cruise ship, or modify its layout to ferry more passengers. It could be used as a daily tourist attraction to show great views of a city or fly over wild landscapes that are otherwise harder to see with a plane or helicopter. With its rotating engine, compressed gas ballast and adaptable landing system, it could take off and land in many places without the need for significant infrastructure-except for its airport-based hangar.

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The Designer

The images of the Invitation concept were created by Abhishek Roy. Roy is the founder of Lunatic Koncepts, a design lab based in Mumbai, India. Roy's team also created the renderings of the Antipode hypersonic jet and the Iruka, a bio-mimetic electric outboard engine.

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