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Old Jun 19, 2012, 07:57 PM
MTT
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Zeppelin NT (new technology)

A couple of weeks back, I spent a week in Germany. The occasion was a reunion of a bunch of us who had graduated from the polytechnical university in Hamburg with a degree in aeronautical engineering, and we were celbrating our 30th anniversary of said graduation.

One of the guys lives and works in Friedrichshafen on the shores of Lake Constance.
Friedrichshafen is also the place where count Zeppelin used to build his airships, and where these days the Zeppelin NT is produced. We had the opportunity to visit the hangar, and have a guided tour, and I found it very interesting.
Although there is a connection, the Zeppelin NT is a totally different beast than the old Zeppelin airships used to be.
It is not a rigid airship, like the old Zeppelin, which hade a aluminium structure, with gas cells inside, and the whole thing was sorrounded by a fabric shroud.
Neihter is is a ballon type airship, like the Goodyear blimb, where the pressure of the gas inside the hull makes for the ships rigidity.
The Zeppelin NT is what they call semi-rigid, since it combines the 2 versions :
It has a aluminium/carbonfiber structure, which is surrounded by the fabric shroud, which at the same time holds the gas (helium). The shroud is attached to the structure, with thousands of tie-wraps (!). I guess they like the KISS principle.
Inside the pressure hull also are 2 ballonets, to control pressure changes due to altitude and temperature inside the hull.
The whole thing is powered by 3 O-470 engines, one on each side, and one on the back.The side engines drive three-blade variable pitch propeller, which can also be articulated up/down.
the rear engine drives 2 propelles, one which can be articulated up/down like the other 2 , and one which points sideways, and is used to aid in directional control, by altering its pitch.
During normal operation, the airship has approx 600 lbs negative bouyancy, so it is not strictly a lighter-than-air craft, like a blimp, or the original Zeppelin airships.
The rest of lift required for flight is provided by pointing the props downward, and, once in forward flight, also by the two horizontal stabilizers.
During our vist there we also learned that Goodyear ordered 3 of these things to replace their aging blimps.

Some pics :
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Last edited by MTT; Jun 19, 2012 at 09:12 PM.
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 08:15 PM
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Always wanted a ride in a blimp. That one look like the latest and greatest. The articulating propulsion at the rear must make it very maneuverable.
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 08:33 PM
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The sister ship of the one in Friedrichshafen is based here in the Bay Area, and can regularly be seen cruising around the skies.

http://www.airshipventures.com/

It looks magnificent, and I'd love to go for a ride, but it's a bit pricey!

Neil
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Neil Morse View Post
The sister ship of the one in Friedrichshafen is based here in the Bay Area, and can regularly be seen cruising around the skies.

http://www.airshipventures.com/

It looks magnificent, and I'd love to go for a ride, but it's a bit pricey!

Neil
My ex lives out there, I sent her a link to that, I think she said she had seen it flying. $375 for 45 minutes and up.
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 08:56 PM
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Funny thing Blimps.. they have been hanging around forver
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 09:00 PM
MTT
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$375, thats a lot less than what they charge in Germany...

We thought about going on one of the flights, but its 395 Euro for an hour ride...
Thats $ 500, so we skipped on that, and decided to support the local beer industry instead...
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 09:08 PM
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$375, thats a lot less than what they charge in Germany...

We thought about going on one of the flights, but its 395 Euro for an hour ride...
Thats $ 500, so we skipped on that, and decided to support the local beer industry instead...
It is $495 for 60 minutes at two of the fields, 90 minutes at Moffett. I don't know if they have three blimps or travel up and down the state, they have flights in LA and San Diego as well, it seems.
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 09:19 PM
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Thats $ 500, so we skipped on that, and decided to support the local beer industry instead...

For $500 I'd just get a lawn chair, some weather baloons, and a BB gun.

You could take a ride on a B-17 for less than $500.
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 09:35 PM
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Err, not blimps, Zep NT's
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Treetop View Post
It is $495 for 60 minutes at two of the fields, 90 minutes at Moffett. I don't know if they have three blimps or travel up and down the state, they have flights in LA and San Diego as well, it seems.
No, there's only one. (One of the only two existing so far, the other one being in Germany.)
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 11:36 PM
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Thank you
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Old Jun 20, 2012, 06:05 AM
MTT
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Actually, there's three....
There are two in Germany, as you can see on the pics, plus the one in SF
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Old Jun 20, 2012, 07:21 AM
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Helium Zepplelins don't leave you with that warm allover feeling... It will never replace the warmth and coziness of a real hydrogen Zeppelin.
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Old Jun 20, 2012, 07:37 AM
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Helium Zepplelins don't leave you with that warm allover feeling... It will never replace the warmth and coziness of a real hydrogen Zeppelin.
Of course, the Hindenburg was designed for helium, but the supply at the time lay mainly with the Americans, who refused to sell to the Zeppelin company during the period. Therefore, hydrogen was used and some of the Hindenburg's gas bags were not fully inflated.

Nice to see these small versions coming back - a Zeppelin is much more spectacular than a simple blimp.
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Old Jun 20, 2012, 08:42 AM
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Actually, there's three....
There are two in Germany, as you can see on the pics, plus the one in SF
I was going by what it said on the Airventures site:

Quote:
Eureka is an authentic Zeppelin, built by the Zeppelin company in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Currently, there are only two such aircraft flying in the world, ours and a sister ship in Friedrichshafen.
I guess that's out of date.
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