Learn to Fly a Zeppelin
July 5, 2011 8:44 AM   Subscribe

Fancy a jaunt in a dirigible, do you? Read along with Popular Mechanics and get a feel for it, go along for a 30 minute ride (YT in 4 parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, playlist with all 4), or try a flight sim or two.
posted by filthy light thief (14 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

But disappointing that an article appearing in a magazine called "Popular Mechanics" has so little to say about the engineering of the thing. (I'm curious about the rigidity; how's it compare with the Goodyear blimp; what's its range; how much does it lift; top speed etc).

So I found this link and this one, which answer my queries (aluminium and carbon fiber; about 25 percent bigger, more stable, quieter, bigger payload; 560 miles; ~4300 lb payload; 78 mph).
posted by notyou at 9:13 AM on July 5, 2011

IOn a sadder, related note, one of the Goodyear blimps crashed in Gremany last month, resulting in the pilot's death.
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:21 AM on July 5, 2011

One of the Goodyear blimps crashed in Gremany last month, resulting in the pilot's death.

Ach der Menschheit!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:43 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Alas, any discussion of airships inevitably becomes a discussion of crashes. In the comments section of the simulator ("try a flight sim or two") linked to above, someone named Jim Smith writes:

jI was in the control car of the Shanedoa at crash site in South Ohio as a kid. It was in perfect condition.

He is referring, of course, to the USS Shenandoah, which crashed in 1925 during a thunderstorm in Southwest Ohio. There were six men in the control car. All died when it broke free and fell to the ground.
posted by Faze at 9:52 AM on July 5, 2011

here is a one man version flying over and taking photos of St. Petersburg
posted by puny human at 10:20 AM on July 5, 2011

sorry, here
posted by puny human at 10:21 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

This is excellent.

However, I would like detailed instructions on how to complete my own half-built dirigible, currently code-named The Doom Balloon.
posted by subbes at 10:26 AM on July 5, 2011


Sadly, the current incarnation of Dawn of Aces does has not reinstated the zep. Alas.

Current best-of-class ww1 combat flightsim Rise of Flight appears to be disinclined to add them.

Finally, the last time I went through those blog posts, they were suffering from serious link rot - the garage vendor of construction plans no longer exists, for example, and a Curtiss company flight manual for some sort of LTA ship had a changed Google books link address.

Since I wrote this posts, I have myownself flown in a dirigible, the California-based Zeppelin NT of Airship Ventures, currently on a long cross country jaunt, if I recall correctly.
posted by mwhybark at 10:34 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also, Shenandoah-interested persons should search my mike.whybark.com blogsite for the posts I have on the topic - for several years the blog attracted numerous first-hand accounts and eventually even someone's family photos of the wreck scene itself. I finally had to turn comments off after MT's comment-spam solution proved impossible to implement.
posted by mwhybark at 10:38 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

We took a flight in this zeppelin. (Two actually, since they gave us a voucher for a second flight when our first flight scheduled for San Francisco bay had to diverted because of weather).

A few notes:

The cabin only holds a dozen people or so, and has huge windows, so you get a pretty spectacular view. The altitude it flies at is also perfect for site seeing.

Our pilot was the woman doing most of the talking during the first video. She mentioned that she was the only licensed female zeppelin pilot in the world. She also mentioned she never loses the "Let me guess what you do for a living" game.

They let you stick your head out of the window. A hard to pass up photo op.

After our first flight, we discovered one of the fellow passengers was a member of Dread Zeppelin. That was almost worth the ticket price itself.
posted by alikins at 10:38 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ah, small (MeFi) world! Thanks for the info, mwhybark. I'll admit, I only checked to see that the programs existed on the other side of those links, and I haven't tried actually playing them. Your site was one of the top results for how to fly a Zeppelin, and one with the most detail.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:39 AM on July 5, 2011

The Goodyear blimp that crashed was actually leased from Lightship Group; Goodyear only operates its own fleet in the US.
Note, airships.net is practically a walled garden, if you click around be aware most article links lead to other articles there.

That fleet traces its lineage directly back to Goodyear-Zeppelin, a joint venture between the two companies. As the Zeppelin arm has been reconstituted as Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik (ZLT), Goodyear has decided to return to its roots and build a new fleet of zeppelins to replace its famous blimps. As I understand things, this will allow slightly larger airships with better avionics and more speed [pdf].
posted by dhartung at 12:07 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

the woman doing most of the talking during the first video.

I used to work with her! A few years ago she considered changing to a career at a lower altitude, and spent some time with rather fewer stripes on her shirt, but when she was offered the chance to move out to Caifornia and return to the skies, she rather sensibly took it. Hiii Kashka!
posted by Lebannen at 6:07 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Meant drop this in this thread earlier, i came across it after that 'how to' this or that blog series, so it's not in the posts:


No bearing on the link, but Captain Board seems to be a character, Lebannen.
posted by mwhybark at 10:42 AM on July 17, 2011

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