Reports suggest Google co-founder Sergey Brin is secretly building a giant AIRSHIP

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  • Engineers have finished the frame of the zeppelin-like craft, source says
  • It is unclear if this is a private venture or could be used commercially
  • Experts have previously spoken about the possibility of airships carrying freight 
  • Sources say Brin was inspired by old photos of the USS Macon used in the 1930s

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has been secretly building his own giant airship, according to a new report.

The craft – which sources say looks like a zeppelin – is currently stationed at a Silicon Valley research facility and engineers have already finished the frame.

It is unclear if this is a private venture or could be used commercially for transporting goods.

Brin has been building the airship inside Hangar 2 at the Nasa Ames Research Centre in Silicon Valley, according to a new Bloomberg report.

Insiders say Brin decided to build his airship around three years ago after visiting Ames regularly.

The craft takes up much of the vast hangar where it is being built.

‘Sorry, I don’t have anything to say about this topic right now’, Brin wrote in an email when asked for comment by Bloomberg.

Alan Weston, who previously led Nasa’s Ames programmes is leading the project and has spoken about the possibility of airships carrying freight.

‘New airship technologies have the promise to reduce the cost of moving things per ton-mile by up to an order of magnitude’, he said in a 2013 interview.

‘A larger airship can reduce costs a lot more than a smaller ship, but there’s design of a class of vehicles that can lift up to 500 tons that could be actually more fuel-efficient than even a truck’, he added.

With these airships the overall lift of the vehicle is equivalent to the weight of air displaced by the helium.

‘And as you change that, you can control the amount of buoyancy that the vehicle has’, said Mr Weston, who did not respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.

Sources say that Brin was inspired by old photos of the USS Macon, a lighter-than-air rigid airship that was the Navy's last flying aircraft carrier, used in the 1930s. It was operated by the US Navy and served as a 'flying aircraft carrier'
Sources say that Brin was inspired by old photos of the USS Macon, a lighter-than-air rigid airship that was the Navy’s last flying aircraft carrier, used in the 1930s. It was operated by the US Navy and served as a ‘flying aircraft carrier’

THE USS MACON

The USS Macon crashed off the coast of California eighty years ago.

The Macon was operated by the US Navy and served as a ‘flying aircraft carrier,’ designed to carry five biplanes for scouting and training.

It was returning to Mountain View, California in February 1935 when it ran into a storm off Point Sur.

Wind shear caused structural damage, puncturing gas cells and then a leak.

The damage meant the 785-foot airship gently floated down into Monterey Bay off Point Sur in California, taking around 20 minutes to settle.

Sources say that Brin was inspired by old photos of the USS Macon, a lighter-than-air rigid airship that was the Navy’s last flying aircraft carrier, used in the 1930s.

The airship crashed off the coast of California eighty years ago when it was caught in a storm over Port Sur, California, killing two crew members.

The Macon was operated by the US Navy and served as a ‘flying aircraft carrier,’ designed to carry five biplanes for scouting and training.

The dirigible had been damaged in a previous incident in the mountains above Arizona.

It was returning to Mountain View, California in February 1935 when it ran into a storm off Point Sur.

Wind shear caused structural damage, puncturing gas cells and then a leak.

The damage meant the 785-foot airship gently floated down into Monterey Bay off Point Sur in California, taking around 20 minutes to settle.

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