Refuelling between ships at sea or between planes in flight is not new.
Now that there are plans to built ultra-fast seagoing vessels and airships for stately global transport, another possibility opens up.
Today’s invention is a way to refuel one’s transoceanic airship from a fast-moving tanker ship.
These ships could slowly patrol underneath known flightpaths. Airships would carry only limited amounts of fuel at take-off in order to minimise manoeuvring fuel usage. When en route they could call on a tanker to accelerate and rendez-vous. Then they’d descend a little to allow a reinforced hose to be dropped to the ship.
A massive pump on board would deliver the fuel upwards, allowing much longer journeys than would otherwise be possible and providing a source of extra support in any emergency over the sea.