M Resort Blimp Pilot One of a Kind
By Jennifer Robison
Worldwide, there are only 56 people who are certified to fly blimps. One of them is Terry Dillard, chief pilot for Florida-based Lightship Group, a contractor with 12 airships. Dillard is currently on a two-year assignment to fly a promotional blimp for M Resorts, a hotel/casino in Las Vegas. The blimp is flown over Las Vegas, San Diego, Phoenix, and San Francisco for 30 hours each week in the evenings. Dillard has been piloting blimps since 1991, and has flown across North America as well as in England and Canada. A typical shift lasts about six to 10 hours and includes two pilots, two mechanics, and 14 crew members. Dillard likens blimps to floating submarines and magic carpets. "I remember way back when, the first time I lifted out of a blimp. You couldn't get me out of my seat, I was just so excited about it." He now looks forward to using blimps as part of charitable efforts with such groups as the Boy Scouts Dillard says one of the most interesting part of his job is the aerial views of wildlife from about 1,000 feet above ground.
April 16, 2009