Sergey Brin Genius
Sergey... I met you in DENVER.. .... 2003...?
The White Flower ...
Yet another tech billionaire is taking to the skies — although this one isn't planning on venturing beyond the Earth's atmosphere.
As IEEE Spectrum reports, the Federal Aviation Administration has officially cleared Google cofounder Sergey Brin's roughly 400-foot airship, dubbed the Pathfinder 1, for takeoff.
The FAA flight permissions were reportedly granted last month and allow for the massive, 400-foot aircraft to fly at a height of up to about 1,500 feet.
It's a massive step forward for the humanitarian moonshot project, which aims for its airship to be an incredibly light and efficient means of delivering large amounts of cargo and relief workers to difficult-to-get-to disaster zones.
Lighter Than Air
Designed and built by the Brin-cofounded startup LTA or "Lighter Than Air," Research, the Pathfinder 1 would be the largest aircraft to take flight since the doomed Hindenberg disaster in 1937, per IEEE.
The construction of the proof-of-concept aircraft is pretty fascinating. The next-generation blimp is equipped with 12 electric motors and four rudders. Its circular frame is built with lightweight materials like carbon fibers and titanium. That makes it light enough to fly using only non-flammable helium, as opposed to explosive hydrogen.
In its appeal to the FAA, the startup wrote in a letter that "Pathfinder 1's experimental flight test program is to demonstrate and establish the flight envelope for the airship," adding that its anticipated test plan "is tailored to include substantial indoor and outdoor ground testing, using a build-up approach to gradually increase the flight envelope."
Once the airship's California test flights are complete, IEEE reports the Pathfinder 1 is due to make its way to the Goodyear Airdock hangar located in Akron, Ohio, where an even larger, nearly 600-foot airship is already in the works.
It's an exciting vision of the future of transportation: not only is it potentially more efficient than emissions-heavy conventional cargo planes, but it also looks cool as hell. Fingers crossed that the Pathfinder 1 passes its upcoming trials with flying colors.
- In 2002, Brin, along with Larry Page, was named in the MIT Technology Review TR100, as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35.
- In 2003, both Brin and Page received an honorary MBA from IE Business School "for embodying the entrepreneurial spirit and lending momentum to the creation of new businesses...".
- In 2003, Brin and Page were both Award Recipients and National Finalists for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award
- In 2004, they received the Marconi Foundation Prize, the "Highest Award in Engineering", and were elected Fellows of the Marconi Foundation at Columbia University. "In announcing their selection, John Jay Iselin, the Foundation's president, congratulated the two men for their invention that has fundamentally changed the way information is retrieved today."
- In 2004, Brin received the American Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award with Larry Page at a ceremony in Chicago, Illinois.
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