Purpose - The article sets out to explore the potential for future use of lighter-than-air (LTA) craft. Design/methodology/approach - Reviews the history of balloons and airships, the physics of lighter-than-air flight, and potential benefits. Describes in some detail some recent projects. Findings - The non-fixed, controllable lighter-than-air craft, or airship (also dirigible), has a long history of science that became successful technology. Its accomplishments were marred by a spectacular failure nearly seven decades ago. Yet, with highly selective planning and proper attention to technical detail, the airship can serve specific purposes in the future, economically and with more satisfactory results than airplanes or helicopters. Originality/value - Provides a readable overview of the potential for LTA flight.