The Google co-founders just love to work on secret futuristic transportation projects.
This time, it’s Sergey Brin — but instead of
glorified water speeders flying cars, like the Larry Page-funded Kitty Hawk Flyer unveiled earlier this week, he’ll reportedly opt for something a bit more extravagant for his airborne transportation: a massive airship.
Brin has been secretly building a giant dirigible in Hangar 2 at the NASA Ames Research Center, according to Bloomberg, which cited information from four sources close to the project. When reached by the publication, Brin had no comment on the report.
Google-backed Planetary Ventures gained control over the hangars at Ames as part of the 2015 lease of the property from NASA, but Brin reportedly caught the airship bug around three years ago after checking out photos of the Hangar 2’s previous tenant, the US Navy’s USS Macon airship.
The sources said Brin’s airship looks like a zeppelin, a lighter-than-air form of aviation that largely fell out of favor after the rise of commercial airplanes and the infamous Hindenburg disaster of 1937. The new project’s metal frame has been built by engineers and takes up most of the space inside the hangar.
Bloomberg‘s sources also claim the project is being spearheaded by Alan Weston, who was formerly the director of programs at NASA Ames. Weston previously discussed his plans for cargo-bearing airships in an Australian radio interview in 2013, when he described the potential for new aircrafts that could potentially lift up to 500 tons with much greater fuel efficiency than current freight options like trucks.
Bloomberg said Weston also declined to confirm his involvement with the project.
If Brin is actually building an airship in Hangar 2, it’s not part of any current Alphabet-backed project, according to the report.
Even so, tech companies are increasingly looking to take to the skies — along with Page’s investments in Kitty Hawk and Zee.Aero, Uber recently announced new partnerships and plans to kick-off its flying car initiative, Elevate, in Dallas and Dubai with the goal to create a functional prototype by 2020.