High-tech cargo airship under construction in SoCal

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High-tech cargo airship under construction in California

By RAQUEL MARIA DILLON  January 30, 2013

AP Photo by Jae HongTUSTIN, Calif. (AP) — The massive blimp-like aircraft flies but just barely, hovering only a dozen feet off a military hangar floor during flight testing south of Los Angeles.

Still, the fact that the hulking 230-foot-long Aeroscraft could fly for just a few minutes represents a step forward in aviation, according to the engineers who developed it. The Department of Defense and NASA have invested $35 million in the prototype because of its potential to one day carry more cargo than any other aircraft to disaster zones and forward military bases.

“I realized that I put a little dot in the line of aviation history. A little dot for something that has never been demonstrated before, now it’s feasible,” said flight control engineer Munir Jojo-Verge.

The airship is undergoing testing this month at Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin, and must go through several more rounds of flight testing before it could be used in a disaster zone or anywhere else. The first major flight test took place Jan. 3.

Full story on bigstory.ap.org