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Ecologic Aircraft concept is part airship, part plane

This whimsical idea for an all-electric craft looks neat, but would it fly?

The craft's helium-filled envelope would provide lift, and turbines would propel it, according to the designer. Daphnis Fournier

If you enjoy dreaming up fanciful ways of tooling around, here's something out of the ordinary: an all-electric plane with a helium-filled balloon topped by photovoltaic cells.

It sounds more like a sci-fi prop, but the Ecologic Aircraft Design Concept by French industrial designer Daphnis Fournier is intended to explore new ideas for prototypes that fly.

After all, we do have a flying car that works, so why not this airship-airplane?

About 71 yards long, the craft would be supposedly be able to achieve speeds of 750 mph propelled by four electric turbines while carrying up to 324 passengers. The idea is that it would mostly fly above the clouds, where the solar cells would capture sunlight to generate electricity.

"For planes most energy is consumed during takeoff because of gravity," Fournier tells Crave.

"Thanks to my balloon I can put as many photovoltaic cells as the plane needs to keep enough energy in the battery to power the large electric turbines for a full day of trips."

Paris-based Fournier has a background in the design of yachts, furniture, Web sites, and video games. He has produced designs for wheelchairs, hotels, and various concepts.

He hasn't discussed the concept plane with any engineers in great detail but is convinced it would fly if built -- though some elements may need modification.

Would you buy a ticket to ride?

Daphnis Fournier

(Via Yanko Design)