Shown in the picture is the new helicarrier from the upcoming Captain America movie The Winter Soldier.
Very cool. But is a flying aircraft carrier possible? Isn’t it too big and heavy to fly? Are those thrusters sufficient to get it off the ground?
There is an interesting article in Wired that goes through some mathematical gyrations about helicopters and what is needed to get them off the ground. Essentially, you start with the weight of the object. You need thrust greater than the weight to get it off the ground. Thrust is generated by the number, size, and speed of the rotating blades.
The article suggests a Captain America style helicarrier is possible. However, the Wired story comes up short in detailing how much an aircraft carrier weighs, and then working backwards how many thrusters, their size and speed are required for lift off. The next step would have been analyzing the picture from the movie and saying whether this was sufficient. Too bad, as the article started with a lot of promise.
The article concludes by going off topic and suggesting the amount of fuel required would be huge. Maybe so, but a helicarrier can carry a lot of fuel. What we want to know is whether something like this can theoretically fly?