Oligarchs who are tired of their superyachts could instead spend future holidays on Halo, a proposed residential airship with a living area the size of four football pitches and an estimated cost of $330 million. tested by Andrew Winch Designs, a longstanding London-based studio that has contributed to the design and development of some of the world’s largest superyachts, private jets and homes and, though the outlandish renderings of Halo may appear fanciful, the firm claims the inaugural airship could be airborne within a decade of the first order. A 266ft-long prototype flew in 2013 and has received certification from America’s Federal Aviation Administration.
Anyone tempted to splurge on the futuristic blimp can expect any number of extraordinary privileges beyond the cachet of owning such a distinctive aircraft. If built according to current plans Halo would feature 20 bedrooms in addition to work spaces, a spa, cinema and ballroom.
An additional cargo deck would accommodate all the additional necessities travellers would need when travelling from one remote terrain to another, with space on board for yachts, helicopters, cars and motorbikes. Should passengers be tempted to explore what lies beneath, they would be able to lower the outer ring of Halo to ground or sea level, creating an artificial private island from which to dive or swim. Opportunities to explore would be virtually unlimited too. Halo has been designed to fly below 12,000 feet so wouldn’t be pressurised. Guests on board could enjoy views of landscapes below from open-air viewing decks and would be able to fly over urban areas, mountain landscapes and uncharted territories. Transparent flooring in some parts of the aircraft would also facilitate views of what passes directly beneath.
The aircraft has been designed to include inflatable landing pads and would be capable of vertical take-off and landing from both land and water. It is expected that Halo would have a range of 6000 miles and would cruise at 130mph. It is, its designers say, very fuel-efficient, with lightweight composites in the frame and outer skin minimising drag. Some furniture will be made from carbon fibre, but Andrew Winch Designs will also work with prospective owners to create bespoke interiors tailored to their preferences. Speaking about the development, the firm’s head of aviation Jim Dixon said: “Halo is a ground-breaking project and will provide a completely new perspective on the world. [It] represents the way we will live and travel in the not-too-distant future.”
The only impediment, it seems, to Halo getting off the ground is the difficulties the company will likely face in finding an interested customer with the means to make their plans a reality. But the release of plans for Halo come at a time when a number of companies and organisations are spearheading the development of unconventional modes of transport. Ambitious plans to return Concorde to service were exclusively revealed by Telegraph Luxury last month, while a number of other companies are making progress with their efforts to introduce commercial supersonic flights more generally. Dutch airline KLM, meanwhile, has also revealed plans for an entirely different “plane of the future” and Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad recently unveiled its new Residence, a three-bedroom suite.