The Cyclocranea hybrid airship invented by Arthur Crimmins, Jr. and Donald Doolittle
An article on the Cyclocrane and description of a nearly fatal event
Post and / or read comments on the Cyclocrane
© Robert A. Crimmins, Felton, Delaware, USA(some photos on and attached to this page are by others)
The Cyclocrane was a hybrid airship intended for ultra-heavy vertical lift. I worked as a rigger, machinist and Project Manager on the Cyclocrane from 1980 to 1985 and was the co-pilot on the first flight.
Hybrid airships use lighter than air gases and aerodynamic forces to generate useful lift. The Cyclocrane used a device known as a cycloidal-rotor for producing aerodynamic lift. Helium, and for awhile a helium and hydrogen mixture, were the lifting gases.
The inventor of the Cyclocrane was Arthur George Crimmins, Jr., my father. Dad came up with the idea after working on a similar device, the Aerocrane, which was conceived by a brilliant engineer, Donald B. Doolittle. Don was the President of All American Engineering, a Wilmington, Delaware manufacturer of aircraft arresting gear among other things. When Don invented the Aerocrane Dad was the company’s marketing director. They worked together on the Cyclocrane with Don doing the lion's share of the structural design and Dad doing much of the electronics and control system and all the marketing and business functions.