I love zeppelins. Not Led Zeppelin (although I am a fan), but airships. I have been fascinated by zeppelins since the 4th grade and I did a history report on the Hindenburg. I did a major term paper project in the 8th grade covering the history of zeppelins around the world and their impact. Today I got two pieces of zeppelin news. One good, one bad. First the good news. It seems that the people over at Wired Cosmos think that zeppelins are the future. I agree.
With all the recent advances in materials science and engine technology a safe zeppelins is not only feasible, but currently in practice.
On a practical note, zeppelins at the very least should be used to move cargo. The lifting capacity of a zeppelin and the maneuverability make them ideal for carrying large payloads. This would get all those annoying wide load trucks of the roads, and deliver larger parts faster and more economical than what is currently capable of being transported on our highway and rail systems.
Now for the bad news. One of the only commercial zeppelins in the United States that you could actual take ride on closed their doors this past week. Airship Ventures could not continue operations without a sponsor. Evidently, buying a football stadium is a worthwhile use of money, but airships that grace the skies are not.
Hopefully, there is a sponsor out there that would like to see the Zeppelin Eureka fly again.
Now you might be asking yourself: What’s the difference between a zeppelin and a blimp? After all the image above looks like the Goodyear blimp…so what gives?
Blimps are basically giant balloons with a gondola and propellers attached. The blimp maintains its shape by the pressure of the lifting gas in the envelope. A zeppelin has an internal structural framework that defines the shape and aerodynamics of the airship. The framework allow for different shapes of lifting bodies to be created for a variety of purposes.
Although the (hopefully temporary) shuttering of Airship Ventures was not good news, there are still active zeppelin programs around the world. I recommend that you take a ride on a zeppelin on your next vacation if there is one operating near you.
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– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +