Saturday, November 15, 2008


Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a... zeppelin? You betcha! It's Airship Ventures' so far unnamed Zeppelin NT. Although she doesn't look it in the image above, Zeppelin NT is 249 feet in length. That's 13 feet longer than the Boeing 747 ,and some 60 feet longer than the famed Goodyear blimps.

Brought to America by the entrepreneurial couple, Brian an Alexandra Hall, the NT is the first zeppelin to fly over the United States since the LZ 129 Hindenburg -- the famed hydrogen-lift ship that burned over Lakehurst, New Jersey, in 1937. Seeing the NT over the Golden Gate is an awe-inspiring experience.

The NT is a rigid dirigible airship. That means it has a rigid skeleton around which the craft's hull, or "envelope," is stretched. Inside, gas cells are filled with helium and provide lift. The NT can accommodate 12 passengers and two crew. (By comparison the Hindenburg could accommodate 50 passengers and had a crew of 40, but then she was 800 feet long.)

I wish the Halls all the luck in the world in their venture. And maybe, someday, we'll begin seeing zeppelins that rival and exceed in size the great airships of the past -- the Acron, the Macon, the Los Angeles, the Graf Zeppelin, the R-100 and the R-101.

Never heard of them? Look them up for yourself.


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