Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Airship Surveillance - continues at high pace

© Airship Surveillance
It's been just over a month since our last post about Airship Surveillance and they are continuing at an extremely high pace. Airship Surveillance has issued no less than 8 press releases in the last 4 weeks. By distributing them through Marketwire they reach a broad audience very quickly.

So what has been going on with Airship Surveillance in the last month, you have the option to read all the press releases yourself or just continue on and read our summary. Beginning of May WENR Corp which has been working closely with Airship Surveillance announced a letter of intent to acquire them. Which was followed up with more information about the aquisition and a Letter to the shareholders. This letter contained some very interesting bits about the current developments in the company. They informed that:
... AirSur is currently in discussions concerning six potential sales opportunities. These contracts include several L15, L5 and L2 airships which will have a value measured in the tens of millions of dollars if all are exercised and completed. In addition to outright sales, AirSur is also in discussions regarding the 'wet lease' of aircraft in which it will operate its aircraft for clients.
They are also planing a Media Day and might be looking for new full time staff. The press release reads:
Finally, the foreseen growth and sales of subsequent airships will require AirSur to possibly seek an even larger facility and hire additional full-time staff. WENR is also looking into adding additional members to its Board of Directors to reflect the Company's new direction.
A few days after the letter Airship Surveillance announced that:
Sandy Mangold has been appointed as Vice President of the Company and has been elected to its Board of Directors.
Sandy Mangold is, according to the press release, a retired Colonel from the U.S. Air Force and has been working with Airship Surveillance from the very beginning. CEO Paul Adams was quoted in the press release saying:
"He (Mangold) will be responsible for generating sales, business strategy, and overall growth of Airship Surveillance."
Also beginning of may Airship Surveillance was able to announce a first contract with a government contractor. This is what Sandy Mangold had to say:
"We are pleased to announce the award of a systems engineering contract with a Las Vegas-based company, which has extensive contacts in defense, energy, and academic communities," stated Sandy Mangold of AirSur. "Airship Surveillance will conduct integration studies for a wide range of biological, chemical and radiation sensors, which could be flown on our airships. Further, the contract also calls for the Company to develop an accompanying series of deployment concepts (Concepts of Operations) for each specific set of payload suites."
In parallel they are also developing the L2 airship further. Pilot training has started and the first custom build airship is being build for a client. Just yesterday a press release was issued informing that Airship Surveillance...
... will welcome representatives of three prospective clients during the month of June from the Defense, Homeland Security, and commercial communities.

The visitors will specifically view development and operations areas of Airship Surveillance. Each entity will get to view and see first-hand the company's newest airship, the L 2 (named the "Flying Cloud" in honor of the famous 19th Century US Clipper Ship,) which will be finished the first week of June. Each client's inspection will be several days in length.
Airship Surveillance has also put a few more videos into their YouTube Channel the newest of them were put into a playlist by me. The first video shows trial flights of the R&D1 indoors the second the R&D1 passing in front of the inflated envelope of the new L2 airship and the last video contains footage of the L2 airship envelope acceptance test. Enjoy!

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The ILA in Berlin started (without us)

This week the Berlin Airshow ILA opened it's gates and we originally wanted to hold the First International Airship Investors Conference at the ILA but as you might have figured from the lack of updates and posts it is not happening this year. That the Conference is not happening this year does not mean it is dead or will never happen. One day we will hold a first international investors conference for airships what it will be called, well that's up in the air :-) We will continue to work hard but will take it easy on the conference since we realized organizing a conference takes a lot of time and having a day job that keeps one busy isn't exactly beneficial for such an endeavor. We will focus our energy on our online activities we are working on a few new things some of it is planned to be coming to a browser near you this fall. So keep an eye on the Blog. Oh and if you want to be part in our exclusive beta let us know send us an email with "Beta Fall 2008" in the Subject. Our email address is as always airshipworld at gmail dot com.

Are you at the ILA, have you spotted something about lighter-than-air or airships, talked with people about airships ? Send us your stories, add them in the comments, let us know what#s going on since we can not be there.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Zeppelin issues Press Release on First Flight

Zeppelin just issued the following Press Release in English and German about todays successful flight

PRESSINFORMATION First flight of new Zeppelin airship completed Airship to enter commercial service in June, head for US in September Friedrichshafen, Germany and Moffett Field, California , May 21st, 2008 – Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co. KG and Airship Ventures today announced the successful first flight of the fourth, and latest, Zeppelin NT airship over Friedrichshafen, Germany. Construction of the fourth Zeppelin NT airship having recently been completed, the ship was handed over to the flight test department to begin the testing phase. The hangar doors opened and the airship left the 360 foot long hangar for the first time since the start of airframe assembly in March 2007. Robert Gritzbach, Zeppelin VP of engineering, commented: “After the prototype being the third ship in our series production, we were able to incorporate a number of design improvements – reducing weight while increasing lift and achieving a near doubling of airframe lifetime – that make this our finest ship to date!” A proud and long awaited moment for all involved, it is a special moment when a new airship exits the hangar for the first time. Alex Hall, Airship Ventures CEO, remarked “What an incredible process we have witnessed over this past year – the assembly of the frame, fitting out of the gondola, helium being put into the envelope, the first start up of the engines, and now the maiden flight.” The engines having been started one by one, the airship was released from the mast truck, and right away started for the sky. Taking off nearly vertically, the ship proceeded to the calm air over Lake Constance to head right into her initial flight tests. The first pilot to fly the airship, Fritz Günther, Zeppelin Flight Operations Manager and the first pilot to fly the new airship said “This is the 3 rd Zeppelin for which I have been part of the maiden flight, and feeling of pride in knowing all our hard work has resulted in success never diminishes. As a pilot, I look forward to confirming the new performance characteristics.” In the meantime, two pilots of Airship Ventures have arrived in Germany and are training with their new ship. Starting it’s long journey, on one side the airship carries the logo of the local brewery Leibinger, partner with Zeppelin group offering special “Zeppelin Beer”. On the other side, the Airship Ventures logo and “Going Places” branding evokes images of flightseeing trips to come – iconic locations of California including San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Napa Valley, Moffett Field, Treasure Island, Hollywood and Yosemite. Last week, Airship Ventures had announced successful completion of an $8 million Series A Preferred Stock financing, which has allowed the company to finalize preparations for commencement of operations in the US this fall. ABOUT ZEPPELIN LUFTSCHIFFTECHNIK GMBH & CO. KG 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. Zeppelin NT airships are currently operating in Japan and Germany. In partnership with Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik, a Zeppelin NT 07 has flown commercial air tours, advertising, and scientific missions throughout Europe since 1997. ABOUT AIRSHIP VENTURES, INC. Airship Ventures Inc., founded 2007 in California, is a privately owned corporation formed with the objective of bringing Zeppelin NT airships to the USA for “flightseeing” tours, media and science mission operations. Initially based with one ship in California, the company intends to eventually have a number of airships operating throughout the USA. ABOUT THE ZEPPELIN NT AIRSHIP The Zeppelin NT07 airship, carrying up to 12 passengers, will be the largest airship flying in the US. At 246 feet in length, it is more than 50ft longer than the largest blimp. Using the inert gas helium for lift, and vectored thrust engines for flight, the Zeppelin NT has been flying with an unparalleled safety record since 1997, in Germany and Japan. ### Airship Ventures is a trademark of Airship Ventures, Inc. Zeppelin is a trademark of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co. KG. All other product and brand names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Zeppelin Contact: Thomas Brandt, CEO Tel.: +49 7541 5900 539 presse at zeppelinflug dot de Airship Ventures Contact: Alexandra Hall, CEO pr at airshipventures dot com +1-650-969-8100 x102

Read this doc on Scribd: Neuer Zeppelin NT absolviert Erstflug

PRESSEINFORMATION Neuer Zeppelin NT absolviert Erstflug Friedrichshafen, 21. Mai 2008 – Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co. KG und Airship Ventures verkünden heute den erfolgreichen Erstflug des vierten Zeppelin NT Luftschiffs über Friedrichshafen. Der Bau des vierten Zeppelin NT ist abgeschlossen. Das Luftschiff wurde nun dem Flugversuch übergeben, um mit den Testflügen zu starten. Die Hangartore öffneten sich und die Nr. 4 verließ zum ersten Mal seit Baubeginn im März 2007 den 110 Meter langen Hangar. „Es ist nach dem Prototyp der dritte Zeppelin NT in unserer Serienproduktion. Wir haben einige Verbesserungen mit einfließen lassen, beispielweise die Reduzierung des Eigengewichtes, um den Auftrieb zu erhöhen oder eine annähernde Verdoppelung der Lebensdauer der Struktur. All dieses macht die Nr. 4 zu unserem leistungsstärksten Schiff, “ so Robert Gritzbach, Leiter der Entwicklung bei der ZLT. Ein stolzer und lang ersehnter Augenblick auch für die Mitarbeiter. Es ist ein besonderer Moment, wenn ein neues Luftschiff zum ersten Mal den Hangar verlässt. Alex Hall, CEO von Airship Ventures bemerkt: „ Was für ein unglaublicher Prozess, den wir seit dem vergangenem Jahr durchgemacht haben. Die Fertigung der Struktur, das Befestigen der Gondel, die Befüllung der Hülle mit Helium, das erste Starten der Motoren und nun der Jungfernflug!“ Die Motoren werden nacheinander angelassen, das Luftschiff löst sich vom Mastfahrzeug und schon geht es Richtung Himmel. Der Start erfolgt fast vertikal, dann fliegt der Zeppelin über dem Bodensee, um hier die ersten Flugversuche durchzuführen. Der erste Pilot, der das neue Luftschiff fliegt, ist Fritz Günther, Leiter des Flugbetriebs und erklärt: „Dieses ist der dritte Zeppelin bei dem ich den Erstflug durchgeführt habe. Ich bin sehr stolz, dass all unsere harte Arbeit zu diesem Erfolg geführt hat. Als Pilot freue ich mich die neuen Flugeigenschaften zu bestätigen.“ Inzwischen sind zwei Piloten von Airship Ventures zur Ausbildung eingetroffen und werden in Friedrichshafen geschult. Die ersten Brandingpartner des neuen Zeppelins sind auch schon zu bewundern. Auf der einen Seite des Luftschiffs ist die Brauerei Leibinger vertreten, die Partner des Zeppelin Konzerns ist und das bekannte „Zeppelin Bier“ produziert. Auf der anderen Seite ist das Logo von Airship Ventures und „Going Places“ gebrandet, erinnernd an Sehenswürdigkeiten in Kalifornien wie San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Napa Valley, Moffett Field, Treasure Island, Hollywood und Yosemite im Briefmarkenformat. Letzte Woche hat Airship Ventures die erfolgreiche Zeichnung von insgesamt 8 Mio. US$ Eigenkapital bekannt gegeben. Dies war die Voraussetzung, um die Vorbereitungen für den Unternehmensstart in den USA im Herbst abzuschließen. ZLT ZEPPELIN LUFTSCHIFFTECHNIK GMBH & CO KG ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG, hat ihren Sitz in Friedrichshafen, entwickelt, baut und vermarktet den Zeppelin NT, ein modernes Luftschiff für eine Vielzahl von Einsatzmöglichkeiten. Zeppelin NT Luftschiffe werden derweil in Deutschland und Japan betrieben. Die Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei, ein 100% Tochtergesellschaft der ZLT, betreibet den Zeppelin NT seit 2001 für kommerzielle Rundflüge, Werbung sowie wissenschaftliche und industrielle Einsätze in Europa. AIRSHIP VENTURES, INC. Airship Ventures Inc., wurde 2007 in Kalifornien, USA gegründet und ist eine Firma in Privatbesitz, mit dem Ziel Zeppelin NT Luftschiffe in den USA für kommerzielle Passagierrundflüge, wissenschaftliche Einsätze sowie Werbe- und Medieneinsätze zu betreiben. Anfänglich wird ein Luftschiff in Kalifornien sein. Die Firma beabsichtigt noch weitere Zeppeline in den USA zu betreiben. Airship Ventures ist ein Warenzeichen der Airship Ventures, Inc. Zeppelin ist ein Warenzeichen der ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG. Alle anderen Produkte und Namen können Warenzeichnen oder registrierte Warenzeichen ihrer jeweiligen Eigentümer sein. Zur sofortigen Veröffentlichung freigegeben. Kontakt ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik: Thomas Brandt, CEO Tel.: +49 7541 5900 539 presse at Kontakt Airship Ventures: Alexandra Hall, CEO pr at +1-650-969-8100 x102

Zeppelin NT#4 is flying - jup it did.

The rumor mill is currently buzzing. Looks like the Zeppelin NT#4 lifted of the ground some time today after 4pm local time from the Airfield in Friedrichshafen. More as soon as we have confirmation while you are waiting check out this great picture of the Zeppelin NT#4 taken from the Zeppelin NT#3.
Just got the confirmation on the Airship Ventures Blog. The Zeppelin NT#4 flew and is back in the hangar. Congratulations to everyone down in Friedrichshafen, to the whole Team of Zeppelin who worked hard to build the ship and to Airship Ventures who put a lot of passion into getting the Zeppelin to the US. Your efforts payed of. Up Ship!

Breaking News:Zeppelin NT#4 has left the hangar and will fly today. - hopefully

It's a cool and cloudy morning in Friedrichshafen nevertheless Zeppelin has decided to get the ship out of the hangar for the first time. Airship Ventures reports live on their blog as I type. Here is their announcement:
Good morning Airship Friends
#4 left the hangar at 7:36 am this morning. She is currently undergoing engine tests on a very gray and gusty morning. IF the weather clears, she may take to the air later this afternoon. (Germany time is CEST which is currently nine hours ahead of California)
If the weather doesn't clear, better weather is forecast for tomorrow morning.
You can see the latest photos on our blog and Zeppelins webcam also shows you some views.
More very soon!
Brian and Alex
at Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik.
The great thing about the Webcam you are incontrol of it and can aim it at the Zeppelin NT. The picture you can see in this post is from Airship Ventures and is the first full picture of the Zeppelin NT number 4. Check out their Blog for more pictures and articles through out the day.

Zeppelin NT#4 inching forward to maiden flight

It's a matter of days not weeks anymore until the Zeppelin NT#4 will make it's maiden flight. While we are all waiting for it Airship Ventures keeps us happy with another three great posts right out of the Zeppelin Hangar in Friedrichshafen.
This is the status update that Alex gave today in the latest post about when the flight can happen:
A weather front has moved in and the full run up engine tests which were to be done outside this morning have not happened. We are all watching the weather with a close eye to see when we might get the window for the final checks and then a window to fly. Watch this space.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An Airship for Disaster Relief - Solarial

There have been many ideas on how to use airships, may it be as mobile camera platforms either remote controlled or manned, for sightseeing flights, as high altitude platform, as aerial cruise ships or business yachts or even as surveillance tool. Using Airships in disaster relief has not been discussed for a while but the recent disasters in China and Burma which almost coincidentally happened right around the time when the 2008 ACIDO Rocket Show and competition announced their winners changed this. The ACIDO Rocket 2008 is a graduation show and competition where students of the three schools of Industrial Design in Ontario Canada present their works. One of the Categories was Natrual Disaster and Andrew Leinonen from the Humber College with his concept called "Solarial – Mobile Power Generation for Disaster Relief" won best in category. This is how he describes his project:
Solarial is an unmanned airship that provides mobile support infrastructure for disaster relief and remote communities, generating renewable energy and supplying communications links where they are needed most. Utilizing a skin coated in thin film photovoltaics, and a reversible drive propeller/wind turbine, it delivers clean energy via tether cable. Housing a suite of telecommunications equipment, Solarial also acts as a relay station for radio and cellular telephone signals, aiding the coordination of relief operations.

While that's the mission brief for the project, the rationale behind it was to produce an airship at a modest scale, fulfilling a present need, to act as a transitionary element towards a more sustainable aerospace industry based around airships.
You can check out the presentation on the ACIDO Website which features some very nice pictures and illustrations on how the concept is supposed to work. Even more information can be found on Andrews Blog where he talks about the Solarial Concept in more detail. What's most interesting about the Solarial concept is that it combines multiple ideas into one package. Having a quickly deployed airship that turns into a tethered aerostat that can provide energy as well as a telecommunications relay for on site communications gives new flexibility to disaster relief. The Solarial is also supposed to fly autonomously to it's destination giving humanitarian help organization a chance to call for a Solarial which will then provide the necessary base infrastructure on a disaster site. In the coming years we will hopefully see more airships being used in disaster relief especially if more people demand them, because they can be a solution to today's problems in building up infrastructure at disaster sites.

But building up infrastructure is not only a topic that is interesting for humanitarian missions the military is also very interested in using airships for their missions. Using small airships for surveillance or larger ones as communication platforms. While writing this article I remembered a project by BOSCH Aerospace called
REAP (Rapid Elevated Aerostat Platform) which is a project where an Aerostat is being transported deflated by jeep to the site, and then inflated and deployed in a matter of minutes. Check out this YouTube video of the REAP System:

REAP Rapid Elevated Aerostat Platform

While the REAP Platform is mostly used for surveillance the way it is deployed is quite remarkable seeing the aerostat inflating completely by itself without any human interaction.
Another project that came to my mind is the Selsam SUPERTURBINE a project to create highly efficient wind power generators. One of the concepts also includes a blimp that is tethered and has Superturbines attached to the tether. Something that could be incorporated with the Solarial? Or what about the Magenn Windtrubine also a lighter-than-air tethered power generator. The Magenn project just recently made the first trial test with their system, we reported on it here.

The possibilities seem to be endless when it comes to envisioning the usages of airships for green power generation. We are looking forward to the future hoping to the these projects become reality.

If you know of other projects that are using airships in new and exciting ways let us know. Also I want to thank Duncan Rice, Paul Bloch and Andrew Leinonen for their input which helped me write this article.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Zeppelin NT - Number 4 is almost ready to fly.

We haven't treated you with new airship news for a whole week, how could we. But I will try to catch up a little on what was hot last week and what's hot this week. The most important news item for the industry was most definitely that the Zeppelin NT #4 is ready to fly. On Wednesday the Zeppelin was ready and waiting for the Helium.
This is the Picture Airshipventures posted along with their Post. You can see the German tail number of the Zeppelin NT #4 which is D-LZNT which of course wont be the final number. As far as we know Airship Ventures have reserved the tail number N704LZ for the Zeppelin in the US.

Later on the Zeppelin got it's Artwork applied. Airship Ventures teased us with a picturethat was just showing the first two letters being applied by Airbornegrafix reading "Ai". Luckily SZON the portal of Schwäbische Zeitung released an article about the new Zeppelin featuring a picture of the full artwork. The complete artwork reads: "Airship Ventures - Going Places" we assume that the Artwork will stay on the Zeppelin until it reaches the US and the first Sponsor has been found. Even if the Zeppelin will fly until the end of June over Lake Constance. Plans are to fly in the Netherlands and Great Brittan until the Zeppelin is shipped around September 10th 2008.

On Thursday the 15th of May the Zeppelin was filled with Helium for the first time while being still suspended from the ceiling. Friday was the big day, the Zeppelin was put on the mast truck and the engines were fired up for the first time. As weather permits the Zeppelin NT #4 will hopefully fly for the first time some time very soon maybe this week. We will keep you updated but if you can't wait at all have an eye on the Airship Ventures Blog Up Ship! you should also head over to their Blog if you want to read a bit more in depth about what is currently going on in Friedrichshafen. If you are at Lake Constance and want to be our on site reporter let us know and we will forward you the time when the Zeppelin NT will roll out of the hangar and make it's first flight. A moment that should be captured on video and photo for the history books.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Remote Controlled Blimps - suddenly see more

A few days back we talked about a Company called Altitude-Attitude and their remote controlled camera blimp. Besides using them for filming events they can also be used to reach places where the normal human eye wouldn't get to so easily for example to inspect an old buildings structure. Everywhere were you would need a scaffold to inspect something or where places are hard to reach a blimp can help giving you eyes in the sky and you suddenly see more that you did before. check out this video of the Altitude Attitude blimp flying in a church.
Blimps can be used indoor as well as outdoor. The Swiss company MiniZepp has a number of outdoor RC-Blimps capable of flying effortlessly to 150 m high. Check out this video of a flight with an HD Camera mounted underneath the blimp.

But lighter-than-air systems don't only have to be used with traditional cameras MiniZepp demonstrated the usage of an infrared camera for aerial thermography on a tethered balloon, completely silent without noise or pollution, quickly setup and ready to use.

The market for small airships being used for aerial imaging and advertising is growing but this is not the only market. AirshipSurveillance has been very successful in the security and defense market. So let's look forward to the future right now it seems very bright for any kind of airships.

One last thing, is a quick follow-up. I have updated the post "Believe in Tomorrow Children's Foundation - Blimp Video" some might have noticed that the first video didn't work, this happened because the video was taken down for re-editing and is now back up. So if you missed it before check it out now.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Zeppelin NT shipped to the US

A few hours ago we updated you on the progress of the Zeppelin NT and that Airshipventures will fly it in the US. We just got a press release form Zeppelin giving us more information and also answering the question if the Zeppelin will be shipped or flown to the US. The answer is it will be shipped. Since the press release is available only in German, you can read it attached at the end of the post I will try to translate as much as possible for our non German speaking readers. So this is my personal translation of the press release this is not an official translation
Fourth Zeppelin NT will fly in the USA

Friedrichshafen, California USA, 9. May 2008. The fourth Zeppelin NT will fly in the USA. ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG and Airship Ventures have signed the contract fo rthe Zeppelin NT 07. Basis is the successful closing of the Series A Preferred Stock financing by Airship Ventures in San Francisco. The Airship is planned to be shipped to the USA in September 2008

A total of 6 investors have signed a total of 8 Mio. US$. The Zeppelin airships are returning to the USA after 70 years. A Zeppelin from Lake Constance above the Golden Gate Bridge - a dream comes true. "We are very happy about the signing of the contract", says Thomas Brandt, CEO of ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG. Michael Schieschke, COO of ZLT notes "After Europe and Asia, North America will be the third continent on which the Zeppelin NT will fly."

The Zeppelin NT will be transported to the USA on a dock ship in September. The largest semi rigid airship in the world and part of it's crew will spend around 16 days at see. Until the Zeppelin NT is shipped it will fly in Europe. Negotiations with partners and customers are in the final stages. The exact locations can not be announced yet. The negotiations comprise the Benelux (Low) countries as well as Great Britain. In the meantime Airship Ventures is ramping up their operations in the USA. The Zeppelin NT will offer exclusive passenger flight in San Francisco and will be used for advertising and scientific missions.

The Zeppelin NT airship is used commercially since August 2001, since then it flew more than 13.500 hours, carried more than 75.000 passengers and flew numerous special missions.

Zeppelin Contact
Michael Schieschke

Airship Ventures Contact:
Alexandra Hall
pr at airshipventures dot com

If you want to check out how it will look when the Zeppelin NT is shipped check out the pictures of the Zeppelin NT getting shipped to Africa and Japan. You can also check out the website of Dockwise where they talk about the project of getting the Zeppelin to Japan. also has a gallery with many pictures of the Zeppelin NT being shipped to Africa for the Africa shipping Dockwise was also used so we can only assume that they will be used again to transport the Zeppelin to the US. Here is a link to the Press release of Dockwise when they shipped the Zeppelin NT to Africa. It is attached after the Zeppelin press release at the bottom of the post.

This is the original German press release.
Read this doc on Scribd: Zeppelin NT nach USA verkauft

PRESSEMITTEILUNG Vierter Zeppelin NT geht in die USA Friedrichshafen, Kalifornien USA, 9. Mai 2008 – Der vierte Zeppelin NT geht in die USA. ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG und Airship Ventures haben den Vertrag für den Zeppelin NT 07 unterzeichnet. Grundlage ist die erfolgreiche Zeichnung des Eigenkapitals von Airship Ventures in San Francisco. Das Luftschiff soll planmäßig in September 2008 in die USA verschifft werden. Insgesamt 6 Investoren haben bei Airship Ventures insgesamt 8 Mio US$ gezeichnet. Nach 70 Jahren kehren die Zeppelin Luftschiffe in die USA zurück. Ein Zeppelin NT vom Bodensee über der Golden Gate Bridge - ein Traum, der wahr wird. „Wir freuen uns sehr über die Vertragsunterzeichnung“, so Thomas Brandt, Geschäftsführer der ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG, und Michael Schieschke, COO der ZLT, bemerkt “Nach Europa und Asien folgt nun mit Nord Amerika der dritte Kontinent auf dem der Zeppelin NT seine Kreise ziehen wird.“ Im September wird der Zeppelin NT mit einem Dockschiff in die USA transportiert. Ungefähr 15 Tage verbringt das weltweit größte halbstarre Luftschiff und ein Teil seiner Mannschaft auf See. Bis zur Verschiffung wird der Zeppelin NT in Europa betrieben. Die Verhandlungen mit Partnern und Kunden laufen in der Endphase. Die genauen Einsatzorte können noch nicht bekanntgegeben werden. In Verhandlung sind Orte in den Benelux Ländern sowie in Groß Britannien. Gleichzeitig baut Airship Ventures seinen Betrieb in den USA auf. Der Zeppelin NT wird in San Francisco für exklusive Passagierrundflüge, Werbeeinsätze und wissenschaftliche Sondermissionen eingesetzt werden. Zeppelin NT Luftschiffe sind seit August 2001 im kommerziellen Betrieb und haben seither über 13.500 Flugstunden und mehr als 75.000 Passagiere befördert, sowie zahlreiche Spezialeinsätze durchgeführt. ZLT ZEPPELIN LUFTSCHIFFTECHNIK GMBH & CO KG ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG, hat ihren Sitz in Friedrichshafen, entwickelt, baut und vermarktet den Zeppelin NT, ein modernes Luftschiff für eine Vielzahl von Einsatzmöglichkeiten. Zeppelin NT Luftschiffe werden derweil in Deutschland und Japan betrieben. Die Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei, ein 100% Tochtergesellschaft der ZLT, betreibet den Zeppelin NT seit 2001 für kommerzielle Rundflüge, Werbung sowie wissenschaftliche und industrielle Einsätze in Europa. AIRSHIP VENTURES, INC. Airship Ventures Inc., wurde 2007 in Los Gatos, Kalifornien, USA gegründet, um den Zeppelin NT in den USA für kommerzielle Passagierrundflüge, wissenschaftliche Einsätze sowie Werbe- und Medieneinsätze zu betreiben. Airship Ventures ist ein Warenzeichen der Airship Ventures, Inc. Zeppelin ist ein Warenzeichen der ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG. Alle anderen Produkte und Namen können Warenzeichnen oder registrierte Warenzeichen ihrer jeweiligen Eigentümer sein. Zeppelin Kontakt: Michael Schieschke COO +49-7541-5900-539 Airship Ventures Kontakt: Alexandra Hall CEO +1-408-317-4310

This is the Dockwise press release that was issued when the Zeppelin NT was brought to Africa for DeBeers.

OVERSEAS TRANSPORT OF A ZEPPELIN BY DOCKWISE a transport which seemed to be inconceivable in the past! Breda, August 02, 2005 Dockwise Shipping, a leading specialist in heavy transport shipping located in Breda, the Netherlands, was awarded the contract by De Beers, a leading diamond-mining company, for the transportation of a Zeppelin NT airship from Amsterdam to South Africa. The dock ship Enterprise will load the zeppelin in Amsterdam with destination South Africa today at approx. 18.00 hours. With a weight of only 700 kilos the zeppelin is the lightest cargo for Dockwise. A great contrast to the heaviest and largest cargo transported last year, the 59,500 ton weighing production platform of BP the Thunderhorse. A challenging transport for Dockwise, not because of its weight, but because of the enormeous vulnerability of the zeppelin. A sea transport of a zeppelin, which was seemed to be inconceivable, has become reality! ‘As a transport shipping company we are proud to have a substantial role in the start of the South Africa project ‘Diamonds for Development in Africa’ of two renowned companies De Beers and Zeppelin. As Dockwise offered the transport solution for this extremely vulnerable airship, De Beers is now able to bring this unique technology in an innovative application to Africa soon. Furthermore, sea transportation will enhance business opportunities in new markets for Zeppelin’, according to André Goedée Chief Executive Officer of Dockwise. The heavy transport vessel Enterprise, with a length of 160 meter and a width of 29 meter, is expected to deliver the zeppelin, with a length of 75 meter and 19,5 diameter, in South Africa at the end of August. Dockwise Shipping is located in Breda, The Netherlands and operates a fleet of 15 semi-submersible heavy transport vessels of various capacities and designs. Dockwise employs about 800 people worldwide. With a global network of three offices: in Breda, the Netherlands (head office), in Houston, Texas, USA and in Shanghai, China, as well as 8 representing agents, Dockwise is able to service their clients to its best ability. As a leading provider in its specialist field of marine transport services, Dockwise has the experience and the resources to meet complex ocean transportation requirements. For more information please contact: Dockwise Shipping B.V. Breda, The Netherlands Mrs. Jeanny C.M. de Leeuw (Public Relations Officer) Telephone: +31 [0]76 - 5484100 E-mail:

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Airshipventures has done it. The Zeppelin NT will fly in San Francisco

This circled the web already quite a bit and yes we are late in the game on this news item but hey I'm still not getting payed for this :-). But I love this work and thats why I do it. So to todays topic, the Headline says it.

Airshiventures the San Francisco company that had optioned the brand new Zeppelin NT Number 4 just completed the last and most improtant round of financing to get the Zeppelin NT to the US. The issued a press release that explained that they completed the Preferred Stock financing getting another 8 million US Dollars in investment. This now allows them to get the Zeppelin NT across the pond to the US. If the Zeppelin will fly or be shipped like the Zeppelin NT that was transfered to Japan has not been published. Fact is shipping the Airship has been proven to work for Japan and is low risk compared to flying across the Atlantic. On their Blog they mention the next steps that will be taken. The Zeppelin NT #4 will be ready to fly very soon. The Zeppelin will probably make a trip to London also mentioned here and then start it's journey across the Atlantic. The new Zeppelin Pilots will get training on the new ship and the route the airship will take across the US once arrived at the east coast. The Zeppelin NT can now finally come to the US after the FAA just approved it's Airworthiness Criteria. Check out the full text here. It took almost 8 years to complete the approval the first letter from the German Luftfahrt-Bundesamt was sent to the FAA October 1, 2001.

Airshipventures is still building up it's team so head over to their website and check out the current Job Offerings if you want to join this new chapter in history of a Zeppelin in the US, something that we haven't seem for some 70 years. And of course check out the excellent Airshipventures Blog called Up Ship! for some great inside scoop and infos not mentioned in the press releases. Here is the full text of the Press Release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AIRSHIP VENTURES COMPLETES $8 MILLION SERIES A FINANCING Zeppelin Airship to Begin US Operations This Fall. Moffett Field, California — May 7, 2008-- Airship Ventures, a privately held corporation formed to bring Zeppelin NT airship operations to the USA, today announced that it had closed its Series A Preferred Stock financing on Monday with investments from six individuals. Terms of the financing were not disclosed. Brian Hall, President of Airship Ventures, commented “Achieving this significant milestone allows us complete our acquisition of the Zeppelin NT and to finalize preparations for commencing airship operations in the fall.” Airship Ventures, Inc, recently announced its move to Moffett Field in a partnership with NASA that will see the company using part of historic Hangar 2, built in 1942 to house Navy blimps. Alexandra Hall, CEO of Airship Ventures, said “We are thrilled to have found a group of people who share our vision of the future for airships in tourism, media and research.” Esther Dyson, the first outside investor in Airship Ventures, added “The best investments are ones where you can invest in something that probably wouldn’t happen otherwise. Without Alex and Brian’s passion and persistence, the Zeppelin would not be coming to the US. But I’m betting in a couple of years people won’t be able to imagine California without it.” ABOUT AIRSHIP VENTURES, INC. Airship Ventures Inc., founded 2007 in California, is a privately owned corporation formed with the objective of bringing Zeppelin NT airships to the USA for “flightseeing” tours, media and science mission operations. Initially based with one ship in California, the company intends to eventually have a number of airships throughout the USA. ABOUT THE ZEPPELIN NT AIRSHIP The Zeppelin NT07 airship, carrying up to 12 passengers, will be the largest airship flying in the US. At 246 feet in length, it is more than 50ft longer than the largest blimp. Using the inert gas helium for lift, and vectored thrust engines for flight, the Zeppelin NT has been flying with an unparalleled safety record since 1997, in Germany and Japan. ### Airship Ventures is a trademark of Airship Ventures, Inc. Zeppelin is a trademark of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH. Airship Ventures Contact: Alexandra Hall, CEO pr at airshipventures dot com +1-650-969-8100 ext. 102

I want to thank Paul Boldt for finding the FAA Airworthiness Criteria.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Believe in Tomorrow Children's Foundation - Blimp Video

We have mentioned before that the AVICTA Complete Cotton Airship is flying missions for the Believe in Tomorrow Children's Foundation. Today we found this great video of the airship taking a kid for a ride. It's always great to see the joy peoples faces when they see an airship.

Also check out the Believe In Tomorrow YouTube channel for more videos. For example this one which features the Sanyo Blimp

[Updated]I have corrected the link to the first video. It was taken down and re uploaded. Now you can enjoy it again.

Let's have some Altitude-Attitude

You have probably seen those big camera cranes that are used in movie and TV productions to provide aerial shots. Some are up to 100ft high but what if you want to go 150 ft? Well you either need a bigger crane or you need to fly. Traditional means of flying are planes and helicopters. If you want to shoot at one location a plane is not the right option since it can not hover, a helicopter can. Using a helicopter though has the big disadvantage of a lot of noise, vibrations and the enormous wind the rotor generates downwards, so low altitude and low vibration video shoots aren't possible by using any kind of traditional aircraft. But an airship can solve exactly this problem. It is almost silent, with little to no vibrations, can hover over one spot without costing energy since it is lighter than air and doesn't generate downward wind that might disturb the scene that should be shot. So video airships are a great alternative for aerial filming and photography. The Metlife Blimp for example is filming the PGA Golf tour and provides fantastic footage. Check out this clip from the PGA Tour to get an impression. But such a big Airship can only be used outside and might actually be to big if you just want to shoot a small scene, especially at low altitude. Which leaves room for small remote controlled blimps and airships that are equipped with a camera. One company that offers these services is Altitude-Attitude, a Belgian company focusing on aerial photo and video production. They have already done quite a few projects with their camera equipped blimp. Besides having more freedom of movement in the three dimensional space a small airship also doesn't need to be set up extensively like a crane. It can arrive on site, maybe has to be filled with helium and can start flying. By using a wireless video transmitter the airship can even deliver live aerial video. Check out these YouTube Videos to see the blimp in action or go to the Altitude-Attitude Website and check out their galleries.

What do you think about remote controlled video airships. Should they be used more often? We believe there is a market for those airships, allowing directors new creative and innovative ways of filming from perspectives that are simply not possible with a crane. Leave a comment on the blog share your thoughts in the Forum or on the Mailinglist. Subscribe to the blog and spread the word, tell your friends about airships and Airshipworld, let's create something great.

The Magenn Wind Turbine gets of the ground.

Early last year we talked about the The Magenn Air Rotor System a wind turbine that floats high in the sky where winds are much stronger. Check out our blog post from last year to see how the Magenn Air Rotor works. Ever since that post it has been relatively quiet up until now. Magenn was able to develop a prototype with the help of TCOM and tested it in the Elizabeth City hangar of TCOM. The test where done inside of the hangar but open air test are to be done soon.
Check out these Articles with more information about the recent tests which also contain a few pictures of the prototype.Also check out the Homepage of Magenn Power Inc. for more information.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The next generation Zeppelin what is it going to be ?

The Zeppelin NT is a great airship and currently the most advanced on the market. New concepts are in development like the Aeroscraft or the SkyCat but do they solve all the problems and are they the real next generation of Airships. Is the hybrid airship, which gets part of it's buoyancy through static lift and the rest through dynamic lift the solution, the be all end all? Should the next generation airship still have most of it's lift through static lift? One hull or two hulls ?

I have just found the blog Witigonen that has a nice article called Zeppelins, and Why they Kick Ass followed by a second article in the same Blog with the name Zeppelins today and potential alternatives both talk about the advantages of modern airships but also take a critical look at their efficiency compared to planes. The first article links to another interesting Blog post called Led Zeppelin from WebDiarios de Motocicleta the post analyzes the cost of a Zeppelin Ride from Boston to San Francisco. I haven't done the math in the post but the author made one mistake in that he based his calculation on the assumption that the Zeppelin NT can only carry 6 passengers instead of the 12 he can actually carry. The post links to a very interesting Technical Paper which goes into detail of the Zeppelin NT, it's speed, fuel consumption and payload. The paper was created by the Forschungszentrum Jülich which used the Zeppelin NT for atmospheric research. The most interesting part from a technical point of view starts with Appendix B on page 25. You can download the paper here. Having this technical information about the Zeppelin NT the question would be how does it really compare to planes. For example what is the fuel consumption of a 12 seater airplane? Per hour and how fast is it. And of course how does it compare to the most advanced new jets like the Airbus 380 and the Boeing Dreamliner? Can a Zeppelin scale linearly or exponentially.

Also looking at the endurance of Hindenburg and Graf Zeppelin there is a lot to do, the Zeppelin NT has a range of 900 km (500 nautical miles) and can fly for up to 24 hours. The Graf Zeppelin could cruise for over 100 hours and had a range of over 10.000 kilometers. So what would we need in order to construct a similar ship today? How can we advance the Zeppelin NT so that is is able to do a round the world flight? These are the current challenges of the airship industry. What do you think about it? Tell us your opinion in our forums or in the comments to this article.