The concept of an airplane is to take you from point A to point B in the fastest possible time. Nobody associates an airplane ride to leisurely pace; unless you’re French industrial designer Jean-Marie Massaud. In the past Massaud has been associated with major brands like Yves Saint Laurent (for perfume bottles) and Yamaha (for submarines), but this time around he wants to partner with Onera, France’s space agency, to create the world’s first luxury airship- Intrigued by Massaud’s spaceship-like design and the possibility of a new aeronautics market, Onera has been testing the aerodynamics and flight-control capabilities of a scale model for the past year.
The Manned Cloud. Designed as a double-decker craft, the 5.6-million-square-foot airship shaped like a whale. The “Manned Cloud” will have a top speed of 170 kilometers per hour, but will generally travel at 130 kilometers per hour, a more comfortable speed for sight-seeing. The vessel, which will be 210 meters long, 82 meters wide and 52 meters high, will only require re-fuelling after 5,000 kilometers and will be able to remain airborne for roughly three days. It will be able to travel from Paris to Madagascar in four days, offering a turbulence-free, un-pressurized flight at an altitude of only 9,800 feet.
Massaud Studio is promoting the futuristic vessel as an ecologically friendly way to travel. Landscapes will be enjoyed from above rather than being disfigured or damaged by tourist infrastructure. A restaurant, bookstore, fitness studio and bar will provide entertainment, should watching the world go by through the enormous panorama windows, or tanning on the sun deck on the top of the vessel, become boring.
The Manned Cloud is yet another attempt at a giant airship. Opting this time to fill it with Helium. The giant blimp is a floating 60 room luxury hotel that would take travelers around the world on 3-day cruises. While these are obviously renderings of the ship, the Manned Cloud is going to be produced for real and should take to the skies with a sail date by 2020. Massaud is hoping private investore buy his idea because he needs to raise $15 billion to begin building the Manned Cloud.
The Manned Cloud Specs
A 2.6-million-square-foot hull filled with helium keeps the airship aloft. A de-icing device protects the ship from cold weather, while side fins provide maneuverability and stability.
The tapered tail optimizes aerodynamics by minimizing drag and controlling airflow over the hull.
As the airship burns fuel and becomes lighter, pumps inject outside air into the hull. The added weight helps keep the airship from ascending to dangerous heights.
Six turbo engines, 450 kilowatts each, power 16-foot-wide propellers. These generate enough propulsive force to sustain a steady cruising speed of 80 mph.
Onera’s design can comfortably carry 15 passengers in its underbelly. The spacious two-story cabin will include a restaurant, library, fitness room, spa, and furniture created by Massaud himself. Keeping weight to a minimum is critical to the blimp’s success, so to reduce water consumption, passengers will only have access to showers—no bubble baths or Jacuzzis.