LARGEST FLYING AIRSHIP IN THE WORLD HEADING TO EAA AIRVENTURE 2011
The largest flying airship in the world — the Farmers Airship, a Zeppelin NT owned and operated by Airship Ventures — is headed to EAA AirVenture 2011, where it will offer 45-minute scenic flights over the AirVenture grounds and Winnebagoland for purchase.
Airship Ventures, based out at Silicon Valley’s Moffett Field in California, is touring the Farmers Airship throughout the country this summer for the first time in partnership with Farmers Insurance. Flying since 2001, Zeppelin NTs have carried more than 80,000 passengers. The Farmers Airship is the fourth and most recent Zeppelin NT to be built and has been offering scenic “flightseeing” tours above California since 2008.
At 246 feet in length, the airship is 15 feet longer than a standard Boeing 747, and 50 feet longer than the largest blimp currently operating. The gondola accommodates one pilot, one flight attendant, and up to 12 passengers, with luxury features including huge panoramic windows, onboard restroom with window, and a 180-degree rear observation window.
With a top speed of 77 miles per hour and maximum flight range of 500 nautical miles, the Zeppelin NT is able to land, exchange passengers, and take off again in under five minutes — all within a 600-foot diameter landing area. The ship’s maneuverability is due in large part to its innovative propulsion system, utilizing three 200-horsepower, variable pitch, vectoring engines manufactured by Lycoming. Able to work independently of each other, two engines are mounted on the side of the hull, with the third mounted at the rear – powering two propellers, one for lift and one for thrust.
The engines are mounted to a light yet rigid framework, composed of triangular carbon-fiber frames, and three aluminum lengthwise beams braced by polymer cables. This distinguishes a Zeppelin from “blimps,” which maintain their shape entirely due to the internal pressure from contained lifting gas.
Like blimps, the Zeppelin NT uses non-flammable helium for lift, contained in a tear-proof outer envelope composed of high strength multi-layer fabric – manufactured by ILC Dover, the same company that creates the fabric for NASA space suits.
The Farmers Airship will be based at Pioneer Airport during AirVenture. Public tours aboard the Farmers Airship will be offered for $399/person July 22-31; tour duration is 45 minutes. To purchase tickets in advance, call 650-969-8100 ext. 111 or e-mail email@example.com.