"Airships, by the very laws of physics, are the most efficient and beautiful aircraft to ever fly," said Grant Cool.
The Canadian fixed-wing pilot was sitting in the mock-up of a blimp gondola built by a Hollywood set designer nestled in the middle of one of the most secretive places in America: Lockheed Martin's legendary Skunk Works, where the SR-71 was created, along with the F-117 stealth fighter.
Cool originally came to Lockheed as a potential customer for the company's new Hybrid Airship, called the LMH1. The airship looks a bit like a flying can of Pillsbury Biscuits after it's been popped, and it can best be described as part blimp, part airplane and part helicopter. "We're getting a lot of interest for this, so we think there's going to be a market," said Bob Boyd, Lockheed's program manager for hybrid air systems.
That market is to deliver cargo to remote areas without roads, whether it's oil and gas exploration, mining projects or villages needing UPS deliveries from Amazon. No one really knows how big the market could be because this is new territory.