It’s not a bird. It’s not a blimp. No, it’s a yacht.
From the Italian design firm that brought you the superyacht with a giant hole in its centre comes another off-the-wall concept: the Air Yacht. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a flying 80 metre superyacht, which achieves flight thanks to a pair of 150 metre-long, blimp-like airships flanking it on either side.
These blimps, which the studio says will contain 425,000 cubic metres of helium (though that number might change as they’re experimenting with different mixes) will grant the entire yacht flight, without consuming an inordinate amount of energy. After all, they’re looking back to the airships of yesteryear in order to look forward, vis-a-vis innovation in sustainable yachting.
And if you’re worried about another Hindenburg-esque disaster, don’t fret – these floating blimps are sub-divided into multiple hermetically-sealed cells, in case of emergency. And anyway, that airship was filled with highly-combustible hydrogen, not helium.
Not to say that there isn’t any hydrogen in the Air Yacht, since compressed hydrogen (and the solar panels lining each blimp) is what’s powering four 950 horsepower engines on each side. This gives the yacht a purported top-end speed of 60 knots over journeys of up to 48 hours. It can also float on the water, thanks to buoyant inflatable structures on each blimp (so yes, like a regular yacht). The Air Yacht’s speed on water, however, is a sedater 5 knots.
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Connected to these carbon fibre blimps by eight bridges is the 80m-long ‘yacht’ itself, which comes with ten guest suites, a swimming pool, dining area, living space and master suite – the lattermost of which comes with panoramic all-around views. Why else would you want a floating yacht?
Not just for novelty, says Lazzarini Design Studio. The superyacht isn’t meant for public transportation or tourists – it’s aimed squarely at luxury yacht owners looking for top notch sustainability and innovation.
The price tag, should you be willing to commission it? More than US$627 million (S$800 million).
The studio tells us that while the design remains a concept, they’re already in the midst of studying several different sizes and cabins for the Air Yacht, and expect to see liftoff for a full-scale prototype by the end of 2022.
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Photo: Lazzarini Design Studio