Step #8 caught my attention big time:
There's a good review of airships (for beginners) on Wikipedia which is worth a squiz, and while your thoughts may be knee jerk and dominated by the notion of the Hindenburg burning up for the cameras, consider how cool was the Zeppelin excursion in Indiana Jones # 3.
I think airships deserve a second chance. They do not require any energy to keep them aloft, and while they travel at a fraction of the speed of airplanes, they can move significantly faster than cars, up to 150 mph, without having to follow roads. Depending on their size, a modern airship could be significantly more energy efficient than even a Greyhound bus (currently the most efficient way to travel long distances.) They do have some problems, for example, they have a hard time flying over the Rocky Mountains, or the Alps, but they more than make up for it with amenities. One planned airship has enough space for 1,000 people to sit comfortably on a lower deck, while an upper deck would sport tennis courts and a movie theater for first-class passengers.
But this interest was also sparked by some friends of mine who are professional artists. Both have risen skywards on a balloon to enrich their painting as both now paint scenes "from above" . I went to their gallery opening last Friday night -- and the passenger option only kicked in with EcoGreek this week too.
Coincidence? Cognitive conspiracy? I know a guy who earns an income making people carrying baskets for balloonist! So there is an industry there you see. Maybe not as big as the wonderful ABC documentary series The Airships told us existed between the two world wars -- but...
I'm thinking that the major drawback is docking these big buggers. Solve that and you are way ahead. You could also consider lightweights -- smaller airships rather than theses monsters of the past.
But imagine --I can indeed! -- a trip from Brisbane to Melbourne *on an airship along the eastern seaboard hugging the coast. Not as fast as a plane but faster than anything else! No geography to negotiate -- just air!
And the carbon emitted? Compared to a Jumbo? You do the maths?
I think airships are go.
*( I do that journey once/year and I've done it by train, bus, plane and hitching.) Doing it by airship isn't on offer...or imagine a transcontinental journey east-west...or traveling Adelaide/Darwin....