This hybrid of a ship and an airplane Egan Airships presents also includes a few drone and helicopter elements. The result is a VTOL called Plimp, which can fly with helium, but also bears a hybrid drive.
Actually looking at it, it most resembles the original airship of old indeed, also known as zeppelin. The Egan Airships version is hopefully dramatically less flammable despite the upper body being filled with helium. This construction helps to lower it to the ground gently should any of the engines ever fail.
The Model J airship, a full version of the Plimp, is to carry ten people or about 900 kilos of payload. For now the Plimp drone can cruise for an hour at 30 mph with a a little over 2 kg payload for 20 miles.
While it vertically lands and takes off, the Model J is to fly at speeds of up to 86 mph (138 kph) once airborne. The small wings are for lift, electric propellers for thrust, and the helium-filled pouch for buoyancy so to speak.
Egan Airships targets both military operations as well as civil use cases in agriculture for example. So far they floated a proof-o-concept model (Plimp) but are looking for (advance) buyers to develop a full scale airship. The asking price is four million dollars paid over the course of four years.
Egan Airships is based in Seattle.