Simon is a research project with the purpose to build a large-scale
model of an airworthy radio-controlled airship with minimal resources and
a design never seen before. As a so-called blimp , it has no rigid internal
structure and obtains the shape of its hull only by internal overpressure.
The only solid parts are the gondola and the tail fins. The advantages
of this nonrigid structure are obvious. Not only is the ship many times
lighter than a comparable rigid airship, but also almost as resistant to
weather conditions, if an adequate envelope material is chosen.
With a length of 4.8 m, Simon's dimensions are adapted to outdoor weather conditions. The smaller a blimp gets, the harder it is to control it in even small currents of air.
Simon is unique in many aspects:
- It is a stand-alone, completely independently developed project, since scientific literature on airship research did almost not exist at the time of construction.
- The design of its envelope combines the application of computer-aided calculation and a special technique of assembling the hull.
- The gondola has been designed and shaped by hand, the material used is a compound of glass fibers and glue (GFC), processed with no means of industrial machines.
- A special VT (vectored thrust) system with two independently controllable motors has been developed for steering the airship.
- The airship may be de- and reassembled for transportation purposes in very few time. Deassembled, it takes up about a quarter of a cubic meter of space!