The concept

The Zepelix is an immense Airship that would be able to transport over 500 tons of food, supplies, material, and people during humanitarian missions and disaster relief operations.

The background

During the last decades, the number of world conflicts has risen steadily, as has the number of natural disasters. When these events happen, people are forced to flee their homes. They quickly need food, medical supplies, blankets, or even transportation. I designed the Zepelix concept to carry out this type of humanitarian mission.

How it works

Airships have been around since the 19th Century. Recently I read about the Aeroscraft prototype and the technology behind it. The Zepelix is basically an extension of that company’s prototype, and this concept proposes ways it could be used. The MLX-86 platform from Aeroscraft can carry 500 tons, and it has a range of over 5 100 nautical miles, which is nearly 9 500 kilometers. If the development of the Aeroscraft line-up goes well and they manage (eventually) to build an airship that can meet those specifications, then an airship like Zepelix could become a reality to carry out humanitarian missions.

The Zepelix would be able to land in a field and load up with food and supplies to carry them to the relief location. The cargo compartment would feature large enough doors through which forklifts and even trucks could enter. The fabric covering the Airship could double as solar panels to capture the sun’s energy at all times. This energy could be used to cool the cockpit and some of the storage rooms or power other electrical equipment.

The shape of the Zepelix is similar to a sea turtle. The four legs could be used eventually as orientable air ducts powered by a small turboprop located inside them. (not shown) These inboard ducted fans would serve to propel the Zepelix in the air and also help it land softly. Of course, these legs would need to be recessed in the structure of the rigid airship to improve its aerodynamics. But they would be able to rotate up and down and also away from the ship. Maybe the current design is also better and simpler.

What it’s used for

My initial idea was to use the Zepelix to transport grain from North America to Africa, but 500 tons of cargo is probably not enough. The cost would be too high. However as a relief vessel, it would make sense since it could carry a lot of people and materials at a reasonable cost. It could also land in fields, whereas cargo planes must land on airstrips. These types of dirigible could be owned and operated by the U.N. and the Red Cross.

The designer

I would like to thank Abhishek Roy who created the images of the Zepelix. Abhishek is the founder of Lunatic Koncepts, a start-up design lab based in India. Abhishek’s team also created the renderings for the Rakoon snowmobile.