To an outsider, and most likely to a consumer making his or her first RC blimp purchase, all blimps look more or less the same. As an engineer, it’s heartbreaking to see people opt for a competitor’s RC blimp based on surface level cost. In reality, a blimp’s performance will generally correlate to its cost. While you may not directly care about a blimp’s performance characteristics, if you care about cost (which you do if you opted for a cheap solution), a lower performance blimp will require more helium and will therefore become more expensive in the long run.
In order to understand the cost of a high quality blimp, the common expression “you get what you pay for” should be considered and understood before jumping to the lowest cost provider. At a cursory glance, all RC blimps across multiple producers appear more or less the same while costs vary significantly by company. In truth, the underlying materials used to create a blimp predominantly influence the overall price passed on to the consumer, and therefore it is worth understanding those different materials and their trade-offs in order to make an educated decision about a non-trivial purchase.
It’s not uncommon for a client to request the feasibility of building a catamaran blimp modeled after a pontoon boat. The concept is depicted in artist renditions that can easily be Googled for, and we occassionally see the idea pop up as part of a business plan for a startup. It would seem logical that this sort of design would result in a more stable aircraft in the same way that catamarans act as stable water boats.