Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The blimp is back: "
Lockheed HALE blimp 7-27-11

High in the sky over Akron, Ohio early Wednesday was a blimp -- the Lockheed Martin developed first-of-its kind High Altitude Long Endurance-Demonstrator (HALE-D). Apparently the first flight didn't go nearly as well as hoped although it's being billed as a success.

The aircraft launched at 5:47 a.m. and reached an altitude of approximately 32,000 feet, according to Lockheed.

But the flight was curtailed before attaining the target altitude of 60,000 feet by a "technical anomaly." The aircraft descended without incident at 8:26 a.m. in southwestern Pennsylvania to a predetermined landing location -- but apparently not the planned landing location."Lockheed Martin is coordinating with state and local authorities to recover the airship. We have confirmed that no injuries or damage were experienced during this landing in a heavily wooded area."

HALE-D is an Army program to demonstrate an unmanned, solar-powered lighter-than-air vehicle designed to hover 12 miles above the earth’s surface for extended periods of time. The airship is designed to demonstrate advanced new technologies and capabilities for keeping American soldiers safer through improved communications.

- Bob Cox

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