October 14, 2008 The Zeppelin Foundation is 100 this year, and what better way to celebrate than indulging in a little “flight-seeing.” Starting this month, Airship Ventures is offering tourists the chance to travel aboard a 246-foot long, semi-rigid Zeppelin NT – the first giant Zeppelin to grace the skies of the US since the Hindenburg tragically caught fire more than 70 years ago. For US$495 per person, passengers can enjoy birds-eye views of the San Francisco Bay, Silicon Valley, Sonoma/Napa wine regions, and the Monterey/Big Sur coastline.
One of only three Zeppelins in the world, the Airship was freighted to Texas from Germany on the 530 foot long container ship “Combi Dock I” in late September before beginning its cross country flight through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona and heading for its new home at the Moffett Field in California.
The Zeppelin NT (the official name hasn't yet been revealed) is constructed from multi-layer laminate material, with a rigid inner frame made of aluminum and carbon-fiber. It’s powered by two lateral engines and one rear engine, which produce a maximum speed of 78 mph, and a cruising speed of 35-40 mph. Each engine can be rotated 120 degrees, providing the ship with high manoeuvrability and hovering capacity. The cabin of the Airship can seat the pilot, flight attendant, and 12 passengers.
“While this historic flight represents the start of operations here in the United States for the Zeppelin, it is the culmination of nearly two years of hard work by teams at both Airship Ventures and Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik,” said Alex Hall, Airship Ventures CEO.