Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ultralight Airship from France

Today we received an update on the Class 5 ULM (Ultralight Airship) Voloris 900 from France. Airship Europe posted about the current project of La Chaîne Météo. Since my French is not so great, I have to rely on auto translated content, and my last bit parts of French that are left. So the airship made a stopover at an airport near Paris as Airship-Europe reports. The French weather channel La Chaîne Météo is making a 3500km tour with the Voloris 900 airship producing regular video reports promoting the channel. The videos of the project can be seen on their website. The 7 women appearing in the videos where casted as TV presenters and are reporting about their experiences and life on the road and in the air until September 2007.
The airship used during the videos, is the Voloris 500 an ultralight airship there is a dedicated website for the Class 5 ULM. The 31 meter airship seats two people and has a cabin that is unusually hanging from the envelope instead of being attached to it. We are going to try to find out more about this unusual blimp and report about it as soon as we find out more.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Goodyear Blimp makes the news.

The last few days have been quite packed with Goodyear Blimp news, this post tries to sum them up and give a short overview about what is going on with it.
June 25th
James from Googlesightseeing blogged about the Goodyear Blimp appearances on Google Maps and Google earth. Go to Googlesightseeing for the pictures and direct links to Google Maps.
July 22nd
Bob Collins, posted two very nice pictures of the Goodyear Blimp on his Blog Stirrings from the empty nest.
July 26th
Newswatch 50 reported about the Goodyear Blimps stop at the Watertown Airport which will be on Wednesday August 1st.
Flysouth Aviation News Africa had an Article about the Goodyear blimps stop at Airventure in Oshkosh last week also containing a picture of the blimp.
July 27th
"I'm a Cuckoo" posted on her MySpace page that she had seen the Goodyear Blimp over Arcata, California.
JR posted took picture of the Goodyear Blimp while it was flying over his golf course. Check it out at noded.com.
The Aero-News Network released an article about the Spirit Of Goodyear Blimp and it's return to Oshkosh.
July 28th
The Aero News network released a nice 4 minute video documentary about the Goodyear blimp. It includes and Interview with one of the pilots Matthew St. John.
July 30th
The Washington post just released a very nice article about the flight of a contest winner in the Goodyear Blimp.
The Goodyear blimp is also featured in the current advertising campaign with the slogan "Get There" which you can check out on the web. There are two video ads that feature the blimp. Having so much news coverage in such a short time, shows how impressive the public awareness is when an airship flies over their heads. There were even more blog posts and articles in the last few weeks. If you think we have missed a very important article or if you want us to report about your airship sighting, project or venture just email us or leave a comment.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Announcing the 5th Airship Parade Bad Homburg

Today we want to announce the 5th Airship Parade in Bad Homburg, Germany on August 11th 2007. It's a unique event in Germany and maybe in the World. 9 airship are gonna be on site and flying, more than ever before, which is a record in Germany. The 9 airships will compete in the first ever airship bowling, where the pilots will have to knock over a stack of boxes with a ball attached to the airship. The site is the same as the 1. German Luftschiffparade from 1910, back then Kaiser Wilhelm II., the German Emperor at that time, ordered his war-airships to the town to get an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the different models. Just like on this 22. April 1910 the parade is going to be a big folk fest, together with lots of information booths, films and music. Starting at 12 o'clock on August 11th the brewery "Graf Zeppelin" opens it's beer-garden and exhibitors open their booths, this is a rough overview of the program:

Legendary Atlantic-Crossing
Dr. John Provan, historian and airship-expert is in charge of the exhibitions at the parade. This time he revives the legendary Atlantic-crossing of the LZ127 Graf Zeppelin - service to North and South America. No other airship did more flights, transported more passengers and mail and travelled longer distances. 144 times the "Graf Zeppelin" crossed the Atlantic ocean, twice the airship and crew where greeted with a parade in New York

Special-Edition Stamps of the German Post
The LZ 127 is also the topic at the booth of the philately-team of the Deutsche Post. They open a special office at which you can buy stamps with the logo of the parade and the special-stamps about "Graf Zeppelin" which came out earlier this year. Also there is a Book about the "Graf Zeppelin" on sale that was just released.

Movies of the Zeppelin-Museum
The Zeppelin-Museum shows some of their movies and the Collector Dieter Weih is selling speclia souvenirs.

The Basler insurance one of the main sponsors of the event has a tethered model airship with a ground controlled camera that allows to take pictures of the people on the ground, the pictures can then be seen on a Website (we are going to announce the correct address later).

Warm-up to the main event
Starting at 16 o'clock the warm-up begins. Guido Holz an airship-expert and moderator is going to introduce the 9 airship teams competing in the first German Airship-Bowling. The tournament is scheduled to start around 18:30 depending on the conditions. The 9 team in alphabetical order are Arnold Luftwerbung from Kassel, whose green white HIT Radio FFH airship will be piloted by Germany's only female airship-pilot Pia Marie Witt. Out of Cologne comes Airgraphic Cologne for Germanwings, steered by Matthäus Smodis. Airovision GmbH & Co. KG out of Aachen is starting the the silver-blue Linde-"Zeppelin" with Sebastian Harrer as it's pilot. Two airships come from Kißlegg, one of them is Helmut Seitz from Ballonsport Seitz who is piloting the Thomapyrin airship and the Andreas Merk with the Ratiopharm airship. Blue Sky Promotion from Barcelona, with their Pilot Daniel Stuber is driving for Hessen in his yellow-white airship. Wim van den Boogaard from the Cologne Airship Comany and the Gefa Flug GmbH from Aachen are also part of the teams. Last but not least there is The Airship Company from Stockach with their silver EnBW airship with Albrecht Fischer as it's pilot. We are going to introduce the teams in detail in the next few days so stay tuned.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us. We can also help you with travel arrangements, and are looking forward to seeing you in Bad Homburg on August 11th 2007. Check out the Luftschiffparade Bad Homburg Website for more detail information, unfortunately only in German, but we have provided an autotranslated version in the links below. The pitures used in the article are copyright by Gerd Kittel/Kur- und Kongreß-GmbH Bad Homburg v.d. Höhe. More information can be obtained by emailing us at airshipworld@gmail.com or directly via:
Kur- und Kongreß-GmbH
61348 Bad Homburg v.d. Höhe

Phone +49 6172 178 152 and +49 6172 178 110
E-Mail: tourist-info@kuk.bad-homburg.de

Also read our articles about:Links:

Friday, July 27, 2007

Ecogeek gives airships a chance

Ecogeek.org just released a nice article about "9 Steps to Cheaper Greener Flight" also including Airships at Number 8. here is what they wrote:
I know, now you KNOW I'm crazy. But, seriously, I think airships deserve a second chance. They do not require any energy to keep them aloft, and while they travel at a fraction of the speed of airplanes, they can move significantly faster than cars, up to 150 mph, without having to follow roads. Depending on their size, a modern airship could be significantly more energy efficient than even a Greyhound bus (currently the most efficient way to travel long distances.) They do have some problems, for example, they have a hard time flying over the Rocky Mountains, or the Alps, but they more than make up for it with amenities. One planned airship has enough space for 1,000 people to sit comfortably on a lower deck, while an upper deck would sport tennis courts and a movie theater for first-class passengers.

It's great to see that not just the people inside the industry believe that airships can have a significant impact on the future of air transport, but also more mainstream media. Go to Ecogeek for the full article to discover the other 8 Steps, including, open turbine rotors, flying wings and more. Also check out the comments to the post, with some more positive opinions on airships like this one:
Airships rock

I know listed airships towards the end, as in they are on the more "crazy" side. But I think they have real potential. Anyone who has had to spend 12 hours cramped in a tiny seat on a long haul flight would jump at the chance to have more space even if the journey took longer - people pay massive amounts to go on cruise ships. There would be a market for these I reckon. I'd be prepared to take longer to get to my destination if it meant a bit more comfort and space. And don't forget all the freight that gets flown around the world as well.

If you find an article like this, tell us about it and send us your comments as to why you think airships are the future

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Airship pictures roundup

Since I didn't have much time to write a long blog post I let pictures speak. So there are a few more pictures by Andreas Barowski check out his Baroliner Website for some great Zeppelin and Hotair-Airships.
Also there are some nice new pictures from the Flickr Airship Pool:

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Hybrid-Airplane a new hybrid airship concept

Today we want move a bit away from our hot air coverage before coming back to it, in the following days. There is a new hybrid airship concept in the works. It has won an innovation price in 2006(in German) from a German science TV show called "Welt der Wunder" and uses a lenticular envelope, with two non directional wings which will rotate to provide vertical take of and landing abilities. Csaba Singer from the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) held a presentation about the Project at the DGLR Workshop X in Munich mid June 2007. Csaba Singer made the presentation slides available for download, so if you didn't have a chance to catch it back then you can now take a look at them. Also there has been a German patent application which can be seen at the DEPATISnet Website of the German patent office, it provides more diagrams and details than the presentation. There are also two videos available on YouTube.
This first one is a computer animated video showing how the airship could work:

The second video shows a model prototype of the airship performing different maneuvers:
Right now Csaba Singer and the DLR are looking for Students wanting to write their master thesis on the project. If you are a student and interested in this, please go to the Website of the DLR and read the description of the topic. Or contact Csaba Singer at the DLR under:
Csaba Singer
German Aerospace Center
Institute of Technical Thermodynamics, Solar Research
Stuttgart - Germany
Tel.: +49 711 6862-490
Fax: +49 711 6862-747

What do you think about the project, will it be successful? Will it have scaling issues? Has there been something similar that has been developed, or patented? Tell us what you think leave your comments or write us an email. It's another ambitious project that we will keep an eye on. Make sure to checkout the English Hybrid-Airplane Website or German Hybrid-Flugzeug Website.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dan Nachbar's and Michael Kuehlmuss Personal Blimp "Alberto"

We are continuing our hot-airship coverage with some news about Dan Nachbars Personal Blimp. The first good news is that Alberto got the allowance to transport passengers. So Dan and Mike, can take passengers with them. Here is what Dan posted on his mailing list:
Greeting all.

After nine months of waiting, the FAA has finally said "YES" to the request that Mike Kuehlmuss (my cobuilder) and I be allowed to take passengers in Alberto, the Personal Blimp! Getting rid of this stumbling block is a big step forward.

To be clear, we could have taken passengers in Alberto long ago if Mike and I were willing to go through the technically required but utterly pointless exercise of obtaining an "airship" pilot's rating. But before doing such a nonsensical thing, we decided to ask the FAA to do be reasonable. And now they have.


This entire exercise in bureaucratic fiddling about was necessary because the FAA lumps all aircraft into a one of several "classes" -- e.g. airplane, helicopter, balloon, and so forth. In order to take passengers, a pilot must have a rating that matches the class of the particular aircraft being flown. (Pilots are permitted to fly so-called "experimental" aircraft -- such as Alberto -- without a matching rating so long as nobody else is onboard. The FAA is reasonably open-minded about killing oneself but not others.)

Alberto falls into the class labeled "airships". Things classified as "airship" are distinct from those in the class "balloon" in that airships have a motor and can be steered. But, the fact is that Alberto behaves much more like a balloon than an airship. Unfortunately, the classification scheme is not terribly subtle. So Alberto has the bad luck of falling into the wrong classification box.

In particular, because almost all other airships have pressurized gas bags and use Helium rather than hot air, the training syllabus and testing rules for the "airship" rating are focused largely on pressurization and Helium. Perhaps if our technology becomes more prevalent someday, the FAA will change the airship rating. But, for the present, it is pretty irrelevant to Alberto.

We pointed out the disparity to the FAA. In particular, we pointed out that Mike and I both have hot air balloon ratings and ratings in powered aircraft. We showed why we think the combination of those two ratings is better preparation for flying Alberto than an airship rating. After mulling it over for nine months, the FAA agreed with us.


As luck would have it, we won't be able to take advantage of our newly granted status right away. Mike is already on the road to the gigantic airshow in Oshkosh, WI for the week. I'm heading out that way in a few days. (We are giving a talk on our project this Saturday at 2:30 if you happen to be attending the show.) When we get back around the end of the month, we'll start taking people for rides. What a treat!

In the meantime, we expect to have a bit more press coverage. In particular, The Boston Globe will be running a story on us in their Business section and on their news website in the next few days. Several other national news outlets are working on stories as well.

Dan Nachbar
So we will keep our eyes open for them, here is already the first story from the Boston Globe, talking about the project and it's fathers. Read the full Boston Globe article and watch the high quality Video which contains some great footage of the airship. Showing some of the inside of the envelope and the patented aluminum tubing giving Alberto it's structure to which the motor and the fins are attached.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Cameron Balloons Hot-airships - follow up to G-BWKE - [Update: Post 100]

Following up to our article from Tuesday morning about the Radio FFH hot-airship G-BWKE
We have to thank Brett from Airminded who pointed out some great information in response to the last post. The Airship has a UK registration and is registered to Wilfried Arnold in Kassel Germany. You can read the registration details here at the G-INFO databse Search of the UK Civil Aviation Authority Website. The Manufacturer of the Airship is Cameron Balloons UK which seem to work together with GEFA-Flug (also check out their more extensive German website). The AS-105 GD is a very versatile little hot-airship that can be stored in a trailer when not in use. The crew needed to operate it is just 3 people the pilot plus two ground staff. The Envelope is 2,970m³ (105,000ft³) and 41m(134.5ft) long and weighs about 200kg (440lbs) together with the Gondola which is made of "Stainless Steel Space Frame & Aluminium Panels" the whole airship doesn't weigh more than 500kg. According to the Cameron Balloons website such an airship "costs less than 5% of the price of a large helium airship to buy and incurs less than a tenth of one percent of the operating costs, yet will conservatively return 50% of the advertising value". These airships are also similar to Dan Nachbars personal blimp "Skyacht" which he built and constructed with some friends.

Here are some additional pictures of the airship and other Cameron Balloons airhsips. Check out each link for the pictures
[Update] I am proud to announce that this was the 100th post on the Airshipworld Blog, now on to the next 100 I would say. Right now I want to thank everyone who has subscribed to the blog and reads it regularly. Please continue to send us your feedback and comment on the posts. If you want to support us, click on the "Make a Donation" Button on the left and send us your donation so that we can afford hosting and provide you with more stuff and better service in the future.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Russian Air Force testing airships and the Navy MZ3A

According to an Interfax AVN Article posted by Jim Smith onto the Airship-list:
The Russian Air Force is exploring the ways of using airships for military purposes.
Unfortunately we do not have access to the Interfax source, so we refere to an article available on the Russia Info Center which is publicly available. According to the article the Aeronautial testing center hosts and operates the airships "Aerostatika-01" and "Aerostatika-02" and has trained over 10 pilots already. So it looks like Russia is actually investing in airships where as the Navy just took the MZ3A almost out of service. It could be seen at the Fleet Week at the end of May but that was already one of the last scheduled flights. Currently the MZ3A is still stationed in Lakehurst. It was supposed to go out of the official service by June 1st 2007 and remain under "pressure watch". Mid July the Airship still awaited it's deflation, until rumours surfaced that flight activities will be resumed in the late summer and early fall. So the hope remains that this is not the end of the Navy Airship programm. These informations come from Rick Zitarosa who continues to write great articles as emails to the Colorado Airship-list unfortunately he did not give us any permission to publish his articles, since there is no archive available those emails are lost in the Email Boxes of the subscribers, never found by Google or anyone researching airships. If you want to catch some of Ricks amazing articles, please sign up to the Colorado Airship-list one of the longest running Mailing lists, about and around Airships and LTA Technology. In parallel we try to contact John Dziadecki, and try to get an archive for the list up and running, so that we can link to the great articles and content available on the list, which should be preserved and not lost.


Interesting Zeppelin Video from Cologne 2006

Just found this very interesting Zeppelin video, it contains footage from the preparations and the mission performed during the pope visit in Cologne in 2006. I don't know about the Copyright of this video, in the Subtitle it clearly states ZLT as Copyright holder. But I thought since it is on the Web anyway I might as well link to it, and give you a chance to watch it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Hybrid Airship Research Project - Memories of the Skykitten and the P-791

Chris Jisi from the Airship-list posted a link to a very interesting Article talking about a hybrid airship research Project at the University of Cambridge in the UK.
Dr Fehmi Cirak, a lecturer in structural engineering at Cambridge, is leading the research. He specialises in computational research to develop models and algorithms for structures and fluids that, for this project, will simulate all the factors that affect the airship's dynamic behaviour.

'Our job will be computational modelling. In this and most other industries, people are moving away more and more from doing experiments and building prototypes. we basically want to accomplish the entire design process on the computer,' said Cirak.
Ok sounds interesting but nothing spectacular. The article continues with:
The project will use data gathered from a 40m-long prototype hybrid airship to improve the design of subsequent larger vehicles.
And further down comes an even more interesting piece:
'Imagine an inflated doughnut, with a large fan in the centre. It can either blow or suck air, allowing the vehicle to hover like a hovercraft or to grip to the ground after landing.' This means the airship can be pulled to the ground on landing or pushed away on take-off.
The only hybrid airships who have an aircusion landing system are the Skycat by Roger Munk which was never built only a small scale version called Skykitten was built, or the Skunk Works/Lockheed Martin P-791 prototype.
The Skykitten with a length of roughly 15m as far as I know could not have been the prototype they are talking about so it must be the Skunkworks P-791 which provided the data.
We will investigate this further, if you know more let us and the readers know leave your comments or send us an Email.
[Update:] Arnold Nayler from the Airship-List commented on the post by Chris Jisi with the following:
Of interest is who is financing the research? Did you note that the research is in conjunction with Tensys, who worked with ATG on SkyCat and then Lockheed Martin on the P 791 ? I am pretty certain that the funding is not from the UK so maybe it is Lockheed Martin that is behind what must be an expensive piece of work.
A quick look at the Website of Tensys shows even more evidence that there is something going on and that this is more an evolution of what has been done before. Obviously coming back to the first quote of the article, after having helped to build two prototypes, the Skykitten and the P-791 they are now looking into developing the concept furter with the help of computer simulation.

Zeppelin Tourism

The Zeppelin, continues to be one of our top news sources, it seems that there is a never ending stream of news around and about the Zeppelin NT. Today we would like to present a little update that we had just received from Zeppelintours.
John and Ute Christopher of Airship Initiatives tell us that their Zeppelin Tours to Friedrichshafen are going very well. Perhaps the most interesting request so far was from a man in Japan who wanted to take his cat on the flight. (And no, Zeppelin wouldn't permit it.)

They have several accompanied group tours scheduled over the next few months (see below) and as you will see they now offer the option of a three-night stay in Friedrichshafen. There is more new information on the updated website www.zeppelintours.com including a full calendar and prices. Plus lots of new photos and so on.

Forthcoming tours:
These include a 60 minute Zeppelin NT flight of course, and all the extras.

8-10 August - Gold Tour with 2 nights in Friedrichshafen
4-7 September - Platinum Tour with 3 nights in Friedrichshafen

In addition they can arrange flights/tours for individuals, and Zeppelin have confirmed that flights will continue at Friedrichshafen until mid-November.

"Hopefully by 2008 we will also be able to offer flights in Friedrichshafen, San Francisco and in Tokyo!" John says. "Of course the 'big plan' is to get a Zeppelin to London and we are continuing to work on this... I have had several airship flights over London in the past and it is a spectacular place to fly. For the moment you can take a virtual London flight on the website."

So take a look at the expanded and improved website, and if you want to discuss getting up in the Zepp then get in touch with John and Ute at customerservice@zeppelintours.com

Read on in our previous posts about Airship Initatives and Zeppelintours as well as about the Zeppelin, for more information.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Zeppelin NT flies for Jülich Climatologists

Zeppelin just released a press release, read on for the full text. It talks about the climate project in the black forest in Germany. Also at the end of the Post are two very nice pictures of the Zeppelin with the sensing device.
Zeppelin NT flies for Jülich Climatologists

Jülich / Friedrichshafen, 17 July – From 16 July, Jülich climatologists will be able to use a Zeppelin NT as a research platform for the first time. Equipped with various measuring instruments, the Zeppelin will spend ten days carefully analysing the air above South Germany. Scientists will concentrate on the degradation and transport of pollutant and trace gases in the lowest layer of the atmosphere: existing knowledge on processes in this very chemically active region is still incomplete.

"The atmospheric layer that stretches up to an altitude of 1000 metres plays a decisive role in air quality and the climate because is so chemically active: pollutants are emitted in this layer, converted into other substances, and then spread further", says Prof. Andreas Wahner from Research Centre Jülich. "The Zeppelin NT allows us to collect comprehensive data in this region for the first time." This is made possible by the unique flight characteristics of the Zeppelin NT from Friedrichshafen: it can float slowly in low altitudes, pause in the air, ascend and descend vertically, fly up to 24 hours, and still carry heaving measuring equipment.

Around half a tonne of research equipment will be packed into the airship's passenger gondola for the measuring flights. Another 350 kilograms will be transported in the open air on a specially designed platform on the top of the zeppelin. Scientists will use these instruments to measure the amount of what are known as hydroxyl radicals, the "detergents of the atmosphere". They trigger the degradation of pollutants and are a measure of the cleaning efficiency of the atmosphere.

In different flight missions, the researchers will investigate the transport and conversion of pollutant and trace gases. They will measure the chemical changes of the gases being transported by strong up-currents and those in a plume of waste air from urban agglomerations. "We are extremely proud to be involved in this project", said Thomas Brandt, Chief Executive of ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik. "This project is a grand challenge for us and it is an opportunity for us to begin a new chapter in the history of special missions for the Zeppelin NT."

The Jülich measurements form part of the project "Transport and Chemical Conversion in Convective Systems" (TRACKS) funded by the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, and they will also be incorporated into the international COPS measurement campaign (Convective and Orographically-induced Precipitation Study). COPS began in the Black Forest at the beginning of June and it is concerned with the meteorological analysis of precipitation.

Cooperation partners for the measurements with the Zeppelin NT are Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, University of Heidelberg and Metair AG. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research provided the funds for the research equipment on board the Zeppelin NT.

Further information: www.fz-juelich.de
The Zeppelin as a research platform: http://www.fz-juelich.de/icg/icg-2/research/zeppelin
Zeppelin NT: http://www.zeppelin-nt.de/
TRACKS: http://www.fz-juelich.de/icg/icg-2/forschung/tracks/
COPS: http://www.uni-hohenheim.de/cops/


Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG, headquartered in historic Friedrichshafen, Germany, develops, manufactures and markets the Zeppelin NT, a modern lighter than air multi-purpose airship. There are three Zeppelin NT airships currently operating in the world – one in Japan, one in South Africa, and one in Germany. In partnership with Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik, a Zeppelin NT 07 has flown commercial air tours, advertising, and scientific missions throughout Europe since 1997. Zeppelin is a trademark of ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG. All other product and brand names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG.

Dr. Barbara Schunk, Science Journalist, Corporate Communications,
Research Centre Jülich, Germany
Tel. +49 2461 61-8031/-2388, Fax +49 2461 61-4666,
Email: b.schunk@fz-juelich.de, a.stettien@fz-juelich.de

Dr. Angela Lindner, Head Corporate Communications, Research Centre Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany
Tel. +49 2461 61-4661, Fax +49 2461 61-4666, Email: a.lindner@fz-juelich.de

Kathrin Runge, Pressestelle Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik; Head of Communications
Allmannsweilerstrasse 132; 88046 Friedrichshafen; Germany
Tel: +49 7541 5900 547 Fax: +49 7541 5900 578 E-Mail: k.runge@zeppelin-nt.de

Hot airship - G-BWKE

I just realized that I haven't posted an article since last Wednesday, the reason for this was, that we are in the process of launching a the website for the upcoming First International Airship Investors Conference. So have patience if the updates are a bit slower in the next few weeks. Before I work through the many news items, that have accumulated in the last few days, I would like to start of this week with some pictures of a hot air blimp that was hovering over a folk fest in the Rhein-Main area in Germany this weekend. The advertising shown is for a local radio station FFH. FFH is known for it's love to airships, blimps and Zeppelins, every year in summer you can spot them somewhere with one. You can not reach more people that visually impressive with anything else than an airship. The Identification reads G-BWKE, I'm trying to track this down and try to get an interview with the operators, to find out costs, and availability. If you know anything about this ship, please contact us.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Follow up to Lockheed and Livejournal airship websites

As reported yesterday Lockheed will probably not get anymore funding for it's High Altitude Airship program, there was a comment to the post from yesterday pointing out another blog post titled "A Lesson in Defence Contracting" if you want to get some more in depth knowledge I suggest that you check it out. My question to the anonymous commenter how does your google bot work, I don't have that yet, and maybe it would help me digging out new stories. So please contact me and tell me how to set it up, thanks.
Also I want to point out two sites, the first one is a Livejournal Community called "luftschiff abteilung" (airship department) we will keep an eye on them if there is something worth mentioning you will read it here.
The second page was pointed out in a comment to the post about Historic Airship Pictures yesterday. I had written about in May already but somehow lost track of it. It's the aerocrat Livejournal a Russian blog focused on LTA. Updated very regular and a source for more information in the future.
I really want to thank everyone for their comments, they are great, so keep em coming, especially point out new sites that you discover and news Items, or at least bookmark them with del.icio.us use the tags airship or airships and it will pop up in my daily reading.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lockheed Martins HAA (High Altitude Airship) might not get finished

There has been an article by Reuters, today, that I at first didn't want to talk about but after Thomas A.Frank at the Airship-list was the second source to talk about this I thought it's might be worth mentioning. So to the Article, it was called "U.S. cruise missile defence said possible in 14 months" It talks about Lockheed lobbying for a program to defend against missiles. Part of this system should have been the High Altitude Airship [HAA] as a surveillance platform. The article states:
The company had high hopes for its $148 million High Altitude Airship program, for airships priced at just under $40 million apiece that can hover and monitor a 500-square-mile area for about two months.

But the Pentagon's Missile Defence Agency cut the program's budget sharply in fiscal year 2007 and requested no funding at all for 2008. Lockheed convinced lawmakers to reinstate the 2007 funds, and there is an amendment to provide a small sum in 2008, but the program's outlook is grim at this point.

Christopher Bolkcom, defence specialist at the Congressional Research Service, said cruise missiles were difficult to track and that Lockheed's forecast about deploying a wide-area defence was "optimistic."

Bolkcom said U.S. policymakers had likely done "the mental calculus that it's too expensive, too hard, on the one hand, and the threat is not big enough to justify it, on the other."
It's clearly understandable why Lockheed is trying to push the project and get Governmental Funding, because there is a lot of money behind it. But as the article says, the threat against the US-Coastline is probably not big enough to fund such an expensive project. As the article states further on:
The U.S. military has plans to protect troops, ships and overseas bases from cruise missile attacks, but it has no plan and no budget to protect the U.S. coastline, Kueter said.
So it seems that Lockheed is facing the same problems many Airship Development projects are facing and this problem is missing funding. The full article can be read at Reuters.com

What are your ideas and thoughts on how to finance an airship development project, what are the costly parts in an airship construction, and where can the most money be saved. How much does the helium cost, and how do you use it best? Send us your comments either by posting it in the comments section below this post or send us an email to airshipworld@gmail.com or post on the Wiki at http://airshipworld.wetpaint.com/, if you do not have an account yet, sign up here and get yourself an account.

Historic Airship Pictures

I just discovered a site with some very beautiful historic photographs of airships dating all the way back to 1908. The Site is called Shorpy.com it's a photo blog with pictures from around 100 years ago, featuring images of the daily life, technology as well as Zeppelins and Airships. Check out the Zeppelin and blimp gallery, for pictures of the ZR-1, the Shenandoah disaster, the Zeppelin 3 and much more.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Airshipworld Wiki - A new way to share the industry's knowledge

Today we would like to introduce a new platform for collaboration. The Airshipworld Wiki, an open free collaborative knowledge base. Before we go into more detail we would like to explain why we created this new site. The airship industry is not very big, there aren't billions of dollars made at the moment, but there are many people out there who try to develop an airship, want to build up a business around airships or want to use one for marketing. Everyone of them goes through the same process besides their unique ideas. Each of the builders has to select an envelope material, each needs to find an engine, control systems, communication instruments and when there is a first prototype built everybody needs to get in contact with the authorities to get a flight license. The operators need airfields and hangars, and knowledge about the different laws and regulations. People in Marketing need to know what is possible, what they can do and where they can get it. Right now there is no source that helps new companies, and projects to speed up their development by providing them with this basic knowledge. There is no free flow of informations between all the Airship and LTA associations world wide. The Internet is a great medium to build such an knowledge base from which everyone in the industry can benefit. This could be the possibility to share technology and concepts in airship construction and design. Points to cover in the beginning would be
  • Approval Processes (World Wide) with contacts to the Authorities, like FAA and others.
  • Envelope Materials, proven to be further investigated.
  • Engine and Propulsion Systems, worthy for an airship
  • Steering and Communication Systems
  • Materials and Fabrication Techniques to build an Airship.
  • Envelope Designs that have proven to be more or less successful.
There are many ways to pool information. We decided to start a wiki, right now this wiki is empty but we are filling it with information as we research and find new topics. Right now there are only a few manufacturer who are actively building airships, and only one who is building not a blimp and that is Zeppelin. The future of Airships does not only lie in manufacturing of them, but also to a great part in in the operation of Airships. So let's pool our information to create a stronger world wide industry. This is a chance for a new way to collaborate, across boundaries, across disciplines, all over the world. There is specialists that are needed, companies that build envelopes, everyone has only one goal, making a living out of this. But if investors, manufacturers, inventors and operators don't have one platform to get together and exchange their thoughts, demands, offerings and services then this is not possible. The Airshipworld Wiki is this platform, register today and create a site to your company, write about the products you offer and the unique value your customers can get. Developers, tell the world about you, share your projects and findings. You know of a good and lightweight engine that can be used in an airship, publish it on the Wiki. You have a project that you want to inform about publish it. There is no technical knowledge needed, all you need to do is to Sign UP and start writing. This is an experiment and it might not succeed, but it could also be a chance for the industry to come together. Just as the upcoming Airshipworld First International Airship Investors conference in Berlin 2008 is gonna be. We are going to publish more about the conference in the next weeks, we will be looking for Sponsors, Speakers and sign-ups for Tickets soon. But for now let's start contributing to this new knowledge base. There is so much written on mailing-lists, so much content generated for association meetings, most of it doesn't reach the audience it could. Much information is actually lost in archives, never read again. This is a shout out to everyone who has an archive with valuable information that is not read by a broad audience, share it help the industry. Go to the Airshipworld Wiki and start a new Article. It doesn't need to be polished, or extensive, anything is valuable. Please also leave your comments and thoughts about this, send us an email with your opinion.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Kothmann - The Flying Saucer Airship

Keith Kothmann recently provided information about his new lenticular Airship called The Kothmann. He filed a patent for it and is currently working on building his first prototype. The United States Patent 6648272 can be read at freepatentsonline.com or you can download the PDF directly here if you don't want to read through the patent, read on since we are going to give you a little overview. The first and most noteable fact about the Kothmann Concept is the cost, compared to other airships today the project cost is estimated with less than 500,000 $ for the prototype. All of the airships components are current off the shelf technology according to it's constructor to keep the cost low and the speed of development high. The Flying Saucer shaped airship will be controlled by a variable lift technology that compresses the helium used for aero static lift when wanting to land, which reduces the neccesary ground crew. The same variable lift system can be used to trim the ship inflight to changing conditions. Due to it's design, the Airship can be stacked together with others, for heavy lift operations. To achive this the Kothmann Airship is equipped with a central cable that links the airships, and all airships would be contributing their maximum lift to the cable, on which the cargo would be transported. These are just some of the many interesting ideas behind this new Concept, even more detail can be obtained in a paper that Keith provided. It's a detailed description of the concept and a bit easier to read than the patent. Get it here: The Kothmann - Paper [PDF]
Please leave your comments, what do you think about it, would you like to get more information about it, do you have questions? We are going to bring you more information as it becomes available.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Blicopter - a new UAV that you can buy today

If you have about 65.000$ on hand way don't you go to Ebay and buy yourself a Blicopter, but hurry only 1 day and 16 hours left. John Christopher of Zeppelintours, once again made a great find with this a couple of days ago.The Blicopter is a new Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, combining the technologies of a blimp and a helicopter. After reading what was written in the eBay auction, we looked into their Homepage Blicopter.com. It is manufactured by the HEI Group in Coral Springs, Florida, we contacted the guys and this is what J.Quintana of HEI wrote back:
The Blicopter tech can be installed on 30’ to 60’ long envelopes and can operate as Lighter-than-air or Heavy-than-air airship.
We made many test on a 40’ and 30’ long, and perform more than 20 flight hours in the 30’ version over extreme flight conditions.
On the 30’ long, the lifting capacity available is over 12kg. without batteries. For a regular flight of 1 hour batteries, the net capacity is around 1 Kg on LTA mode.

Using the rotary wing on the back (helicopter), is easy switch from LTA to HTA (or vice versa) in flight. On board computers makes the necessary adjustments on blade collective pitch and RPM (for efficiency purpose) to keep a constant safe altitude.

Helium loss, atmospheric pressure changes, altitude, temperature, and other factors change the lifting capacity dynamically. That is a big problem for conventional medium size blimps, (the problem will worst if the blimp use gas engines). The Blicopter compensate automatically, without user help, the lift capacity and flight altitude.

Wings are been used extensively on conventional blimps. Ailerons and rudders are the unique mechanisms to control the altitude and heading when wind crosses the airfoil surface. If no wind is present, is necessary move the blimp to get some airflow on these surfaces to produce the necessary forces to control the blimp. Wind produce tremendous lateral forces on blimp sides and the control surfaces need be enormous to get some useful control force. In many cases the proportion lift capacity vs surface area is not enough to produce a good maneuverable blimp in the mid size scale.
Doing a downsize scale from a Goodyear size blimp doesn’t work well.
Doing an upsize scale from a Blicopter mid size blimp doesn’t work well also.

The Blicopter doesn’t use this type of static heavy weight surfaces; in contrast, use a configurable rotary wing to produce the necessary aerodynamic force.
Two implementations of this rotary wing has been tested on Blicopter, the classic blades rotating over a perpendicular axis (Helicopter) and the blades rotating in a parallel axis. We made extensive testing on the first option, and we are working on the second option. Our tests on cycloidal rotating blades (parallel configuration) show that is the best option if we solve some problems on efficiency and vibration.

Another important advantage on Blicopter technology is the telemetry system. Its possible operates the blimp by instruments on ground. Complete autonomous flight has been tested but not release to public before complete 200 hours of test flights. A semi-autonomous flight has been release in our 30’ to 50’ versions.

The Blicopter has an Ethernet wired network with IP protocol on board to make upgrades and install additional features easily. The console on ground can be easily duplicable to provide redundancy on pilot and control system. The console runs on a Windows XP /Vista configuration with an Ethernet and USB port.

Many additional features are included on this design. We will inform you about more features after solve the patent process.

Sounds quite interesting to me and even though they have just about 20 hours of flight testing, we will keep an eye on the project. The Blicopter website says that they are gonna update it on July 10th 2007, so we will check back to see what is new. What do you think about this project leave your comments or send us an email. And check back for updates on Blicopter soon.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Blimp - more pictures and a video

We have reported about Carl Hagerling's Blimp project in a previous post, now we have some more stuff to look at. First of a Video showing how the supposed moving of the gondola should work. Check out this YouTube video

Also there are some more pictures of the design. One must of course understand that this is a design study, not a technical project. We will tyr to get some more background information on it. But this is an innovative oncept mich might be worth a closer look.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Zeppelin NT receives commercial passenger license in Japan

We have reported on this already last month but now it is official. The Zeppelin NT has it's commercial passenger license in Japan. Read on for the just issued press release by Zeppelin. And as a little bonus after the press release you can find two fine pictures of the Zeppelin NT:
Nippon Airship Corporation will shortly welcome passengers aboard the Zeppelin NT

Friedrichshafen, July 3rd 2007 – the Zeppelin NT airship sold to Nippon Airship Corporation (NAC), Japan in March 2004, received the license for commercial passenger operation in Japan on June 29th 2007. NAC, founded in 2001 expands its operational spectrum.

The second Zeppelin NT, formerly named the “Bodensee” (Lake Constance), received the license for commercial passenger service. The Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) has issued the commercial passenger license for the second Zeppelin NT airship. With this license NAC can explore a further operational option of the NT 07. Currently the Zeppelin was used for special missions and commercial advertising. An exact date for starting the passenger operation has not yet been set.

„Very good news at mid year“, says Thomas Brandt, CEO of ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG. „We have been patiently waiting for quite some time
and are happy for NAC.“

After the conclusion of the sale in March 2004 Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH (DZR) started the three months training of three Japanese pilots and three mechanics. Already flagged Japanese the Zeppelin started its transfer flight to Japan in July 2004. Unfortunately this transfer flight stalled in Helsinki, due to the pending permission to transfer through Russia. The break of winter in East-Siberia brought about NAC’s decision to transport the Zeppelin to Japan via sea transport on a dock ship. In January 2005 the Zeppelin NT 07 arrives at Kobe harbor and is currently stationed close to Tokyo at Honda airport.


Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG, headquartered in historic Friedrichshafen, Germany, develops, manufactures and markets the Zeppelin NT, a modern lighter than air multi-purpose airship. There are three Zeppelin NT airships currently operating in the world – one in Japan, one in South Africa, and one in Germany. In partnership with Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik, a Zeppelin NT 07 has flown commercial air tours, advertising, and scientific missions throughout Europe since 1997.

Zeppelin is a trademark of ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG. All other product and brand names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG.

MetLife blimp making pitstop before crossing Lake Michigan

MLive.com a Michigan news website, reported yesterday that one of the Metlife Blimps landed in Park Township Airport coming from the Buick Open golf tournament in Flint and heading to Kohler, Wis., for the U.S. Senior Open Golf Championship. Metlife started the Blimp programm in 1987 and expanded in 1994 the two Metlife Blimp are A60+ Blimps both structurally identical. There is a great website by Metlife about their Blimp Programm.The Website has informations about the Blimps activity and schedules, a nice gallery with pictures, information about the operations and much more. Searching a bit on the web I also found a great Video Report by Golf.com making a flight in the Metlife Blimp. You can view the Video on this page at Golfonline.com. Metlife shows how Blimps can be used to create a synergy between brandrecognition and advertising on the one side and aerial coverage of sporting and special events on the other.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Helium provider Linde has airship

I found this image a few days ago on flickr it shows a blimp airship with the Linde Logo on it. Linde is a big helium provider in Germany and Europe. I was wondering if this is a helium airship that they have or just a hot air one, searching on the web I could not find anything about it. The picture is taken in the north west of Germany in a city called Aachen, any Input would be welcome. And while talking about Linde as a helium provider, I would like to ask you our readers to send us company names of helium providers in their countries. Where can one get helium for a reasonable price in your home country. We would like to compile a list and report on helium price changes and possible ways to get enough helium for an airship. If you already know of a website that does this, please tell us where to find it. Since we are interested to let more people know about it if something like a helium ptice comparsion page would exist.

Most successful month in the history of Airshipworld

Yes, our history is short, but this doesn't change the fact that June was a tremendous month for us. I would like to thank everyone who has come here in the last month, we had a total of 2029 page views, that is an 89% increase over May, the subscriber count of the RSS feed has gone from 5 to more than 20 on average by the end of this month. We are now read in more than 50 countries all over the world. Thank you for your readership, we will continue to dig out Airship and LTA news almost daily. I also want to thank the contributors. Thanks go out to everyone from the Airship-list, and the other Groups, Forums and Companies that come up with new bits every day, without them this could not be possible.
To gain even more traction in July I have two wishes:
  1. Please link to us and spread the word, we need your referrals. Put a link to Airshipworld on your Homepage, in your email Signature or just about anywhere you can think of and of course tell us about it, we are extending our recommended links section this month, and are happy to link to every page that brings us visitors.
  2. Send us your feedback, what do you want to read, do you want us to extend into other topics, like helium supply, envelope production and materials, propulsion systems you name it. Which posts did you like in the last month. Can't remember everything ? Check out the Archive of June 2007
To reach us you can either leave a comment right underneath the post, or send us an email at airshipworld@gmail.com

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Skycat group in adminsitration

Trevor Monk reported on thE Airship-list that the Skycatgroup is in administration. Which can also be read on their Website:
Steve Akers and Daniel Smith of Grant Thornton UK LLP were appointed Joint Administrators of SkyCat Group Limited on Monday 25 June 2007.

The Administrators are currently assessing the position of the businesses and can be contacted at:

Grant Thornton UK LLP
Grant Thornton House
Melton Street
Euston Square

Tel: +44 (0)870 991 2417
The Skycatgroup just recently bought assets from the Advanced Technologgies Group, which went out of business, we have reported in may about the new Skycatgroup Website, everyone was hoping that the Skycat, a new hybrid airship concept would finally be built. But the announcement of a court filing by Lockheed Martin against Roger Munk and Skycatgroup probably put a quick end to the newly started company. Of course this is speculation, we have no contact with the Skycat group or Roger Munk and thus don't know more. I believe the Skycat is still not dead. But it doesn't seem to fly soon. If you have more infos for us, send them to us or add comments to this post. As soon as we know more, we will be posting here on the blog.