The Concept

The Templar is a specialized airship concept designed to plant trees and create new mixed forests. It could also be used to monitor and protect crops.

The Background

Airship design and engineering has been steadily on the rise during the past few decades. Imagine if you could order an autonomous airship to plant 10 acres of mixed trees based on your own custom layout? That’s the challenge proposed by the Templar concept. The concept’s name was inspired by the book Hyperion, by Dan Simmons.

How It Works

The Templar would be designed to pick up and plant trees in a whole new way. First it would be able to land next to a tree nursery and load up very young trees specially designed for this type of aerial transplantation. The operators would have the possibility of mixing coniferous and hardwood trees and choosing special species to design unique forest patterns.

Inside the airship, a palletizing system would pick up and place each young tree in a special slot where they would await transplantation by an injection system. The challenge would be to handle various species appropriately for their different transplanting needs.

The cargo compartment of the Templar would be large enough to plant a series of 10 trees across, spaced 1 meter apart. The length of the injection matrix would allow for 20 rows, meaning the Templar would be able to plant 200 trees in each sequence. To accomplish this, the Templar would need to remain stable over each area in light wind conditions, so the airship would require electric transversal fans or ducted outlets on its lateral sides.

Since one cycle takes roughly 3 minutes to complete, the Templar wouldn’t be able to compete with modified aircraft like the Hercules C-130, which was recently considered for planting over half a million trees in a single day (see article). It would, however, have the possibility of creating custom forests with unique patterns and could be tasked to work day and night.

Accordingly, if your goal is simply to plant a whole new forest on one of your fields, you could make an order and the Templar would load up its cargo bay with pines, cedars, or other trees and fly to your designated spot. It would then start injecting trees at high velocity by flying and hovering very close to the ground. It would move from one spot to the next to cover the maximum surface in the shortest amount of time while simultaneously watering the shoots.

Ideally, the fabric covering the airship would capture the sun’s energy while the aircraft is parked and would use it to power parts of the robotic planting equipment and even the electric turbines and gas compressors.

What It’s Used For

In a distant future, urban vertical farming might become more and more popular and some of the space taken up by huge fields might be converted back to forests. Land owners might opt to design their own private forest and use airships like the Templar to create impressive patterns of mixed and homogenous forest. The Templar could also be used to monitor crops, assess the health of regional forests, and replace trees in areas where they have been knocked down by heavy winds or burned by forest fires.

The Templar is simply one idea out of a hundred that takes into account new airship designs and the future of agriculture. We hope it will inspire you to think about life in the 21st century and how such aircraft can improve our lives and the earth.


The Templar concept was imagined in August 2018 by Charles Bombardier and designed by Jorge Ciprian, an Industrial Designer from Argentina. Jorge graduated with a degree in design from the University of Buenos Aires, and he currently works as freelance designer.