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Project Hybrid airship

markp

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I have been developing a hybrid airship for Orbiter. The design is based on the vehicle seen in the short film Wanderers.

The vessel can be operated as a lighter-than-air or a heavier-than-air vehicle, i.e. the proportion of lift obtained from the lifting gas can be varied. Lift can be also obtained from the hull, wings and engines. Ballast can be added if needed. Wind gusts are crudely simulated to add some excitement. Payloads, such as the prefabricated building in the last image, can be carried.

Will have a test version ready soon and will post it here when it's all packaged.

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View attachment hybrid_airship_181126.zip
 
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boogabooga

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Looking forward to this.

Sort of like the Airlander 10.

Hopefully, it will turn out better than the R38, Roma, Dixmude, Shenandoah, Italia, R101, Akron, Macon, and Hindenburg.
(Or Airlander 10 for that matter.)

Probably best to avoid the bad weather, though.
 
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markp

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Yes airships are of limited use due to their susceptibility to the weather. It seems hybrid airships go some way to addressing this problem. I think they are still learning how to use and manage these new hybrid airships, like Airlander 10 and Aeroscraft, and so are running into some accidents. My guess is they will find some limited application beyond that of present day airships. I would sure like to fly in one.

I am compiling some notes for the demonstration scenarios today. Most likely will package it all up this evening and post it here tomorrow evening. It's a fun aircraft to fly and potter around close to the surface.
 

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Added a test version to the end of the first post! Enjoy.

Let me know if there's any problems with it.

A few things I will probably add for Orbit Hanger release:
1. Landing gear
2. A bit more explanation in the documentation
3. Maybe a docking tower and a large hanger for storage

Bug and limitations:
1. Probably doesn't like being used in space
2. There seems to be some problems with landing and sliding around. I can't figure out what's causing it but it's not a big problem as there are workarounds.
 

boogabooga

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I don't think that an airship would work very well on Saturn, considering that the atmosphere is already mostly hydrogen. (Would be awesome on Titan, though)

I keep sinking when I add lifting gas.

I don't understand the screen text regarding "reference for ceiling".
 

markp

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I don't think that an airship would work very well on Saturn, considering that the atmosphere is already mostly hydrogen. (Would be awesome on Titan, though)
You're absolutely right there boogabooga. I'm surprised I hadn't even thought of that. I'll switch the scenario to Titan.

I keep sinking when I add lifting gas.
Was that on Earth or Mars or another planet?

I don't understand the screen text regarding "reference for ceiling".
I have probably used the wrong terminology for an airship and missed out the word 'altitude'.

That screen text refers to how the ceiling altitude of the airship is calculated. The ceiling altitude here is assumed the maximum altitude that the airship can reach using the lifting gas. However I am aware that an airship can go higher than its lifting gas will allow by using its engines. So it may have a higher ceiling altitude in reality? I'm still a bit confused about the terminology.

I actually realised this is probably the case after watching the film Zeppelin (1971) a couple of weeks ago but didn't realise I needed to update the message in my addon.

The 'reference' is the point from where this maximum altitude (ceiling) is measured, i.e. sea level or the local surface level of the ground.
 

boogabooga

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The sinking occurs in the Canaveral scenario. It seems that if I take off and then land and secure, I sink if I add more lifting gas.

I recommend making the ceiling itself selectable by the user when adding lifting gas, rather than in the .scn file.
 

markp

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Thanks boogabooga.

Yes the sinking was occurring after securing the airship. I have fixed that now.

The ceiling altitude can now be adjusted when adding the lifting gas. The ceiling altitude is displayed after pressing 1 and can be adjust up or down in steps of 100 m using shift 1 or shift 2. I'll add a finer control option later as I just realised writing this that it might be useful in some cases.

I have also added a floating on Titan scenario. And you're right it is pretty awesome.

Version 2 of the addon has been attached to the first post.
 

boogabooga

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How are your wind effects interacting with Orbiter's?
 

markp

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The winds I have added to the airship are intended to be local short duration gusts that are in addition to Orbiter's winds.
 

boogabooga

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I'm the Bug Crusher. It's what I do. :cool:

Could you include an option to turn off your wind? Airshiping is hard. :eek:h:

---------- Post added at 11:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:01 PM ----------

Two more bugs:

1) Add lifting gas, takeoff, vent, land and secure. Then, add lifting gas again, takeoff a second time. You will be unable to vent lifting gas even though you just replenished it.

2) Trying to secure while just a little bit too high causes you to be thrown upward.

Also, having reverse hover thrust would be super-useful! (How had would it be to implement the engines like Shuttle-A style pods?)
 
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boogabooga

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I hope this makes it to the hangar. It's a fascinating vehicle.
 

markp

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Hi boogabooga, yes I think this will make it to OHM.

I have been busy implementing the Shuttle-A type hover engines. I wasn't sure if they were really needed but now they are working it makes things so much better.

Hopefully will have a new version posted here tomorrow or more likely Sunday.
 

markp

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Uploaded version 3.

The main problem I have had, and is persisting to some extent, is wobbly rotor animation. Hope to fix that in subsequent iterations of the addon.

Bug 1 in post #13 is fixed I think. There is now an option to decrease the amount of lifting gas in increments of 10 percent while in flight.

I coudn't think how to fix bug 2. I only get thrown up a few metres. Not sure it's worth trying to fix at this point. However I just thought of way that may fix it.

I'm sure there are loads more bugs in this version. Thanks for your help boogabooga. Glad I didn't release it straight to OHM.

HTML:
Could you include an option to turn off your wind? Airshiping is hard.
The wind can be turned off in the scenario by omitting the GUSTS option or setting it to zero. However I will add the possibility to turn it off while running Orbiter also in the next version to make things easier.
 

boogabooga

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Ok, I tried it and it's a little confusing...

Does "q" still have a legitimate purpose, or is it a vestige now? It still gives a message on the HUD, but I can't tell what function it serves. From what I understand, you now use the hover thruster only and not the mains anymore? I recommend having "q" auto- configure the thruster angle between full forward and full hover.

It can get disorienting trying to understand the angle that the thrusters are in. The "forwards angle" "backwards angle" nomenclature is confusing, especially since full forward seems to correspond to "backwards angle 0." I think that is is very important for the pilot to know at all times what quadrant his thrusters are in without having look at the sign of the angle. Remember that Shuttle-A has an indicator with a visual cue for this. So you might want to give the information on the HUD like " Thrust forward-up 45 degree," "Thrust backward-down 215 degrees," "Thrust backward-up 125 degrees," etc. (i.e. Thruster angle is always positive from 0 to 360 with 0 full forward, 90 up, 180 back, and 270 down.)

Finally, I don't think that all possible engine angles are animated through 360 degrees.
 

boogabooga

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I've looked at this a little more and I now realize that the HUD messages just needs a full stop for better clarity.

"Thrust rotated forward. The angle is now X degrees."
 

markp

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ok such a simple change for the messages! I thought I had muddled up the thrust directions in the HUD messages in the last version. In any case I have followed your recommendations regarding the messages in post #17 as that seemed like a good way to do it.

I have a new version and will probably post it tomorrow after I have updated the documentation. q is working properly now and the engines rotate 360 degrees.

---------- Post added 05-31-18 at 10:23 AM ---------- Previous post was 05-30-18 at 10:17 PM ----------

Attached the new version of the airship to post #1.

There are now keys to rotate the engine to predefined angles of 0, 45, 90 and 135.

Gas is now vented in increments of 10 percent of total gas volume by pressing 2.

Shift-5 turns wind gusts on and off if gusts have been set up in the scenario file.

Hopefully messages on the HUD are clearer.
 

boogabooga

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Saw this:
https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-u...llenge-of-moving-wind-turbine-components.html

---------- Post added at 08:22 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:11 AM ----------

Critical bug:

If you start at a thrust angle of 0 and "reduce" the angle with shift-3 down to 355 degrees, the actual angle increases from 0 to 355. This takes a long time and is very dangerous because it applies thrust in the opposite direction that the pilot intends.

I think you need to add a check to see which rotation direction requires the fewest degrees to traverse :)
 
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