so I am very interested in flying. I don't have any formal education in the topic so take my questions for what they are.
I was thinking about VTOL aircraft and the current state of such machines. A thought crossed my mind as I was pondering the topic. Would it be possible to produce a solid structure VTOL hybrid airship/airplane that is only slightly heavier than the air around it? It seems like this type of craft would provide for very long flights and "futuristic" landings. I understand this is no spaceship but the implications of building such a device seem like the "henry ford" moment of our generation. An interesting hybrid called the solarship was recently developed by some private company. That craft uses two different methods for generating lift (lifting gas and a wing). There is another method that we use to generate lift on helicopters. Could all three be combined with a craft slightly heavier than air? The mechanical motion required for lifting such devices is very low (little RPM required). The solarship is extremely small. I don't suspect we will develop personal airships. I was thinking more like larger commercial craft though both would be cool. I understand the craft would need to be made up of something very light, maybe a metal microlattice or a carbon body or even 3D printed plastic. It seems like such devices could benefit from hollow wings filled with lifting gas as well. Additional concerns would deal with punctures to the hull. Maybe a balloon inside the hull? There are solid structure airships already but those craft are easily damaged by wind and other extreme weather.
An additional question I have relates to the design of airships. Some recently built craft have deviated from the traditional blimp design. Why are there no vertical airships? I assume this is because of buoyancy or just the fact nobody has thought to build one. With airships the heaviest part will always be on the bottom. Even if we put the hull on top it would just flip over right? It seems like we could build some pretty cool designs with these considerations in mind.
Now don't get me wrong, I understand there are some major challenges associated with such an undertaking. Hydrogen is dangerous, helium is in short supply and hot air probably won't provide the necessary lift. Perhaps this will be more appealing once nuclear fusion is available. Though I think people will be more concerned with creating new thrust devices once fusion is a reality.
Thanks in advance for any helpful information. I do apologize if the question sounds stupid. Again, I am not formally educated in aeronautical engineering.