January 21, 2009
By Jill W. Tallman
If you crave the unusual, a scenic ride in one of the world’s largest Zeppelins might be your ticket to ride. Airship Ventures at Moffett Field, Calif., recently put a state-of-the-art Zeppelin on line for commercial operations, the first such in the United States in 70 years. This is no blimp, and it’s no 1930s-style dirigible, as “ AOPA Pilot” Editor in Chief Tom Haines discovered when he rode in N704LZ in the fall. The sleek airship is a fly-by-wire, computer-driven, all-composite wonder—so maneuverable, it can operate with as few as one ground crew member (a typical blimp needs 12 to 20). Then, of course, there’s the view from 1,200 feet in the ship’s cabin, with not a bad seat to be found. Read Haines’ account in the February 2009 issue of “ AOPA Pilot”, and watch the accompanying video that places you squarely in the midst of the action.
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.
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A retired airline pilot and the Experimental Aircraft Association's Young Eagles program win Public Benefit Flying Awards.
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