The latest luxury yacht from an Italian design group is built to fly as well as sail the world’s oceans. The expensive vehicle, dubbed Air Yacht, has been presented in concept photos by Rome-based firm Lazzarini Design Studio. The dry carbon fiber construction can achieve speeds of 60 knots thanks to four solar-powered electric propellers and two helium-filled blimps, and it can also fly, hover, and float on water. Air Yacht maintains altitude by inflating its blimps with a lighter-than-air gas, in this instance helium, and gaining propulsion from its enormous propellers. It’s unclear how much Air Yacht would cost once it’s been built, although the firm says it’s designed with private owners in mind, likely those with several hundred million pounds to spare.
The dry carbon fiber structure’s entire length would be about 300 feet (150 meters), with a width of 260 feet (80 meters), and the main central deck would be 260 feet long and 30 feet (10 meters) broad. The twin blimps of Air Yacht contain 400,000m3 of compressed helium and are propelled by eight counter-rotating motors fueled by ultra-light batteries and solar panels. According to Lazzarini, the ship could fly for more than 48 hours at a maximum speed of 60 knots (almost 70 miles per hour).
‘The Air Yacht is not an airship for public transportation or touristic purposes,’ says Lazzarini Design Studio, which has posted the new renderings on its Instagram page. ‘It is conceived for a private owner with a vision of mega yacht/aviation evolution.’ Air Yacht flies across the sky thanks to two massive blimps, both of which have central compartments containing helium that is inaccessible to passengers. Concourses and individual cabins with beds and washing facilities circle the helium compartments within the blimps, allowing passengers to spend many days on Air Yacht during extended flights. Each blimp side has five suites for passengers, each with a magnificent sky window view.
There’s even a large, windowless viewing platform at the back of each blimp, allowing guests to see the waves splashing beneath them when they’re on water or catch some fresh air at 5,000 feet when they’re aloft. Both blimps are connected to a central compartment by four carbon bridges, through which passengers can walk. This central compartment acts as a communal space for passengers to gather, relax and eat meals. It offers guests a luxurious observation area with a swimming pool, carpeted lounge, and a huge living room with dining amenities. At the bottom of each of the two blimps are ‘inflatable basements’ that fill with air when they approach the water, allowing the vehicle to float when necessary.
Lazzarini says: ‘The Air-Yacht is driven down by engine rotation and can stand in the water thanks to helium depressurization and a ballast anchor mechanism. It has a speed of five knots and can sail silently in the water.’
An optional extra allows a helicopter to rest on top of the structure for flying visits to local destinations. Lazzarini is frequently unveiling lavish concepts without actually building them, so it’s possible that Air Yacht may prove too expensive to ever become a reality.