The Vertical Flight Society Southwest Chapter presents
An Introduction to the Zeppelin NT 07 – Passenger Rated Tiltrotor Airship
a presentation by Francis Govers, Associate Technical Fellow for Autonomy at Bell Helicopter
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
This presentation provides an introduction to airships in general and the Zeppelin NT 07 in particular. The Zeppelin NT is a 13-passenger airship with vectored thrust motors and a unique tail rotor that allows function as a VTOL aircraft, and was selected in 2011 by Goodyear to replace the iconic “Goodyear Blimp”. Normal blimps and airships can’t hover and require a large 20 person groundcrew for takeoff and landing but the NT has infinite hover time and needs only 3 ground crew. Airships have by far the best safety record of any flying vehicle with only two fatalities in the last 60 years. We will discuss how airships work, how to live with helium, how they fly with a balance of static lift (buoyancy), dynamic lift and vectored thrust. We will see how an airship is controlled, balanced, and trimmed, and even go through some pilot training.
Francis Govers has contributed to the design of over 30 manned and unmanned land, sea, air and space vehicles. He currently is the Associate Technical Fellow for Autonomy at Bell Textron, and is the founder of the Bell Autonomy Department. He is an Air Force veteran, was head of command and control for the International Space Station, Deputy Chief Engineer for Unmanned Systems at the US Army Future Combat Systems, Chief Engineer of Elbit Systems of America, CTO of Gamma 2 Robotics, participated in the DARPA Grand Challenge, managed a Zeppelin airship, and is a factory-trained Zeppelin ground school instructor. He was responsible for maintaining the “Yellow Line” for NFL football and designed the onboard telemetry systems for NASCAR and IndyCar. He has published 48 articles and papers and authored the book “Artificial Intelligence for Robotics”. He received five outstanding achievement awards from NASA, and recognition from Scientific American for “World Changing Ideas”. Francis earned his Master of Science degree from Brandeis University.
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