It's weird to keep reading blog entries from bands cancelling their shows because they are stranded on the wrong side of volcano. It seems so scifi. If this volcano really does keep erupting, maybe we'll get a sneak peek at the post-oil-crash world where plane travel is impossible and we have to go back to boats for crossing oceans. Or, you know, blimp it.
The actuators on the airship work like biological muscles in an agonist-antagonist configuration. While the actuators on one side of the airship are activated, the corresponding actuator on the other side contracts. Thus the body and tail fin are excited in an undulating movement which propels the airship like a fish through the air. The EAPs can be actuated with varying frequency, activation voltage and a phase shift between the body and the tail fin movement. In fluid-dynamical similarity to the rainbow trout, the appropriate motion pattern (deflections, frequency and phase shift) were defined and verified by wind tunnel tests. The expected travelling velocity was calculated. [...] This version of the fully EAP propelled airship had his maiden flight on 16th of July 2009 in Duebendorf Switzerland. For the first time, actuators of this size could be manufactured, characterized and employed. The functionality of the fish-like propulsion in air could be demonstrated.