Sales campaign lifts off for Plimp hybrid airship

Plimp hybrid airship

Egan Airships has tested a drone-sized prototype of its Plimp hybrid airship. (Egan Airships Photo)

What do you get when you cross an airship and an airplane? If you’re willing to spend more than $4 million, you could get the Plimp hybrid aircraft that’s envisioned by Seattle-based Egan Airships.

The patented concept calls for mounting a helium-filled balloon on an airframe that has wings equipped with adjustable propellers. The result is a not-quite-lighter-than-air vehicle that rises like the Goodyear Blimp but can cruise like an airplane at speeds of more than 80 mph.

“This is a brand new approach. As you see it fly, what was not obvious becomes intuitive,” said the company’s co-founder and president, James Egan, a Seattle attorney who was recently in the news in connection with a lawsuit challenging the Seattle City Council’s repeal of a head-tax measure.

After years of work on the design and prototype testing, Egan is trying to drum up enough interest among potential buyers to move ahead with the years-long process of getting the plane built and certified.

It’s an unorthodox sales pitch: If customers are willing to pay $4 million plus overages, in installments spread out over the course of four years, they’ll get a Plimp Model J aircraft that’s capable of carrying either a ton of payload in cargo mode, or two pilots and eight travelers in passenger mode.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Aerospace and science editor for GeekWire, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
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