High Altitude Airship Test Flights in Central-West Queensland

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    Start 27/04/2024
    AEST 10:00
    End 22/12/2024
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    Josh  Quilty

    Test flights of an experimental stratospheric airship in the Winton-Hughenden vicinity, with potential drift up to 300 km.


    Skysite is planning a campaign of 1 to 5 test flights of an experimental stratospheric airship, designed to operate above 60,000 feet. Test flights will be conducted in the vicinity of the Mitchell Grass Plains between Winton and Hughenden and North of Longreach, Queensland – please refer to attached map image for operational area.

    Each test flight will last less than 24 hours from takeoff to landing. The airship will make a buoyant ascent like a balloon at approximately 1,000 fpm, drifting with the wind. Once above 60,000 feet, the experimental propulsion and control system will be tested and manoeuvres will be attempted. At the completion of testing, the airship will commence a parachute-style descent back to the ground.

    The airship is registered VH-DJU as a Large Remotely Piloted Aircraft in the Airship category. When fully inflated, it is 25 metres long and 10 metres in diameter. Its fabric is shiny metallic, making it highly visible in daylight. For night operations, it is fitted with anti-collision strobe lights.

    The airship is fitted with a fully certified (TSO’d) Mode S / ADS-B transponder. Flights will be conducted under IFR flight plans, and with ATC clearances while in Class E and Class A airspace. While ascending and descending through Class G airspace, we will make periodic VHF radio calls from our ground control station on relevant CTAF/Multicom and Area frequencies.

    A NOTAM will be issued for the commencement of each flight campaign.

    We welcome any feedback or discussions. We are happy to add any aviation organisations to our notification list to receive brief update messages during our flight operations.


    Submitted by

    Daniel Field