Another aircraft: the air yacht

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Dreamed up by Swiss engineers, the AirYacht is not only similar in name but also in function to the Lazzarini Studio’s Air Yacht – it seems that air transport is capturing the imagination of more and more designers who see it as one of the best forms of environmentally friendly travel.

The AirYacht, designed by Swiss engineers Guillaume Hoddé and Matthieu Ozanne, is a very similar concept to the one we have seen before, and not so long ago: the Air Yacht is a creation by Lazzarini Design, which is actually a glass cabin enclosed by two helium balloons – this central unit accommodates the passengers, who can enjoy the benefits of water transport in addition to the airship excursion, as the vehicle can travel at speeds of up to 5 knots when it descends to the surface.

Swiss AirYacht’s similarly named but structurally slightly different model is a slightly more complex concept: this hybrid vehicle is a combination of a real yacht and an attached airship, designed to allow passengers to travel by water without being confined to the seas, but to be able to easily move on without having to leave their boat when they encounter a natural obstacle. Once close to land (or anywhere else), the helium-filled balloon can be directly attached to the yacht, which can be lifted up to 3,000 metres, but also allows travel close to the surface at 100-200 metres, giving a better view.

The AirYact flying vehicle
The AirYact flying vehicle

The idea is that the 200-metre-long balloon would be crewed by three people, while the living quarters, with 750 square metres of interior space for 10-12 people, would have a crew of 12, who could also take a lift out of the yacht-airship if they wanted to tour the area. The boat is unique in that it does not have an engine, meaning that it cannot navigate on the water on its own, but can only be towed by the airship, which has a maximum speed of 90-100 km/h. This, according to the designers, is necessary to minimise weight, an essential element of the hybrid’s functionality.

The concept may seem radical, but the idea of balloon travel is nowadays popping up in more and more places, for example in space tourism, and companies are doing their bit to make this slightly greener (albeit luxurious) form of transport a reality. According to Boat International, the first AirYacht is scheduled to be launched in 2026.


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