Airship Industries Skyship 600

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Skyship 600
600 on mast at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York
Rolecommercial non-rigid airship
ManufacturerAirship Industries
First flight6 March 1984
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Skyship 600
600 on mast at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York
Rolecommercial non-rigid airship
ManufacturerAirship Industries
First flight6 March 1984

The Skyship 600 is a modern airship, originally designed by British company Airship Industries, further developed by a subsidiary of Westinghouse Electric Corporation and now owned and operated by Skyship Services Inc.

The first Skyship 600 made its maiden flight on 6 March 1984.[1]

Similar in appearance to the Skyship 500, it is larger, being the world's largest currently-operating airship of any kind. The envelope is made of Kevlar and the gondola of composite materials. Earlier models were propelled by two Porsche 930 turbocharged piston engines, but some have been modified with Textron Lycoming IO-540 engines. One important feature of this series is thrust-vector control. The encased propellers can be swivelled altogether around, providing excellent maneuverability.

The control system developed by Marconi is "fly by light" — using optical fibres to carry the control signals between gondola and the control surfaces.[2]

Each airship has been tailor-made to meet the needs of different customers and this results in slight variations in size, performance and cabin configuration.

Airship Industries collapsed in 1990, and its assets were taken over by Westinghouse. The type certificates for the Skyship 500 and 600 series were purchased in 1996 by United States company Global Skyship Industries and changed hands again in 2011 now being owned by Skyship Services Inc.

Ballonet system inside the airship envelope
Spirit of Dubai – The Palm, on the UK leg of her 2006 tour. Note the scale of the airship from the two technicians standing below her.


Most Skyship 600s have been used for advertising purposes, like the Spirit of Dubai. In December 2007, a Skyship 600 was leased by supporters of US presidential candidate Ron Paul to fly with the banner "Who is Ron Paul? Google Ron Paul". Others have been used for surveillance purposes, including during the 2004 Summer Olympics. The Skyship's sister ship the Skyship 500 registered G-BIHN was used by the character Max Zorin in the James Bond film A View to a Kill. The Skyship is one of the world's most stable aircraft with an unparalleled endurance capability and as such it is suitable for a variety of missions.

How it works[edit]

Skyships are equipped with a pair of ballonets, one forward and one aft. These ballonets are air-filled compartments within an airship that compensate for the expansion and contraction of the helium, thereby maintaining a required envelope pressure. They can be filled, or partially filled, with air. Emptying of air is done through four valves under the envelope. The valves open automatically as the ship climbs, releasing air and allowing the ballonets to collapse and the helium to expand. On descent, internal trunking allows air to be driven in from the propeller ducts, and / or electric fans, and thus avoid collapse of the envelope. The ballonets can be independently filled by using shut-off dampers in the air supply trunking. One important by-product of ballonet operation is that through differential inflation a measure of pitch trim can be obtained, in much the same way as a submarine uses its water ballast for buoyancy trim.[3]

GR SK Steigflug.jpg


Ten Skyship 600's have been built and a successor, the Skyship 600B, has been planned. Although ATG received two orders for the Skyship 600B, a higher-performance version of the 600, in its early years, it sold the type certificate for the 600 to Julian Benscher of Global Skyship.

Specifications (Skyship 600)[edit]

Data from [4]

General characteristics


Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Flight International, 17 March 1984 .
  2. ^ Flight International, 12 November 1983 .
  3. ^ Rimell, R.L.: Skyship! Renaissance of the British Airship Industry, Re-printed in 2005 by Airship Management Services, Inc.
  4. ^ "Our Airships". USA. 2006. Retrieved 21 October 2011. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b

External links[edit]