The Pathfinder 1 airship, measuring a staggering 400 feet, is double the size of the Boeing 747-8, currently the world’s longest aircraft. This colossal airship is the brainchild of Sergey Brin, the billionaire co-founder of Google. Brin envisions these enormous airships as future cargo carriers.
Developed by Brin’s LTA Research, the Pathfinder 1 is a blimp-like structure equipped with 12 electric motors and four rudders. Its robust frame is constructed from a combination of carbon fibers and titanium. The development of Pathfinder 1 began in 2016, and LTA Research is not stopping there; they are also working on an even larger version, the Pathfinder 3.
The vision of LTA Research extends beyond just one airship. They aim to build a fleet of these giants for various uses, including cargo transport, passenger travel, and delivering emergency humanitarian assistance.
The landing gear of Pathfinder 1 is particularly noteworthy. It is designed with a powerful damper and durable wheels, capable of bearing substantial loads such as water or heavy machinery for aid missions. The company’s website proudly states that this landing gear is specially prepared for humanitarian efforts.
When Pathfinder 1 eventually takes flight, it will be the largest aircraft to do so since the Hindenburg disaster in 1937, a catastrophe that significantly reduced the use of Zeppelins. During its second transatlantic journey in 1937, the Hindenburg tragically caught fire over Lakehurst, New Jersey, resulting in the deaths of 35 of the 96 passengers onboard and one ground crew member.
Image Credit: LTA Research