Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Airships: The future of yesterday's
technology of tomorrow is here today!
-Hybrid Air Vehicles' slogan
Well that's got to be disappointing. The Airlander 10, a three hundred foot airship built by Hybrid Air Vehicles, ran nose-first into the ground on a test flight in England. Yes, I said airship and I said test flight because apparently there's an effort to make airships a thing again and I'm totally onboard with-sorry, I'm really very sorry about that. I swear that wasn't as a pun. It's not that I'm better than that, it's just that even for a pun, the lowest form of humor, that was pretty weak.

I mean I'm onboard figuratively. Like, with the idea of airships. I wholeheartedly support the idea of soaring through the sky in lighter-than-air craft. In theory. The reality is almost certainly not going to be all that great, but we'll get to that. First of all, planes.
Behold the majestic airship of fiction, held aloft on the wings of adventure
and powered by the magic of imagination and whimsey. Also, helium, I guess.
Yes, jokes about air travel. Because
I'm on the bleeding edge of comedy.
Look, planes are bunk. Apart from the blood-freezing, albeit largely irrational, fear I have of being propelled through the air in a couple hundred tons of metal and plastic, the entire airline industry seems to be going out of its way to dehumanize it's passengers. Want to maintain circulation in your lower extremities? That'll be another $60-$100 for an extra three inches of leg room. Hungry? Fuck you, here's some stale cookies. Bathroom? A vertical coffin with a toilet. Oh and yes you will be seated next to some guy called Dennis from Buffalo who totally wants to talk. About politics.

Jokes about air travel and 80's movie
references. Again, bleeding edge. Me.
Yeah, that happened to me last time I flew. I sure as shit don't care about Dennis from Buffalo's feelings on constitutional originalism, but that didn't stop him from expounding upon the subject at length. If I'd been on an airship, I could have politely excused myself and wandered over to the piano bar and had a martini or something or, better yet, I could have punched him in the face, thrown him overboard and then told the stunned onlookers that he didn't have a ticket.

"Oh for chrissakes, that one time..."
-Dirigible fans
Where was I? Oh, right, the ignominious face plant Airlander 10 did today. There were no injuries, which is great because it means it's ok to make fun, of this but I suspect that today's crash is a set back for an industry famous for fiery explosions. Yeah, ok, so the Hindenburg was filled with hydrogen which is like super-flammable and that's why oh the humanity but it's all the Nazis could get their hands on. The U.S. controlled the world's supply of helium, and they had to go with gas B. When you think about it, in many ways the Hindenburg was our fault. But on the other hand, Nazis.

Anyway, today's aeronautical pratfall not withstanding, 21st century airships will be way the hell safer than the ones the hydrogen-filled deathtraps of yesteryear. Of course they still top out at like 80 miles per hour, so their impeccable safety record will have more to do with nobody bothering with them rather than how prone to explosions they're not.
Above: the ambitiously named Airlander 10 plunging majestically into the English countryside. You'll note
that it's neither in the air nor can what it's doing be called landing. It might be time for some rebranding.

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