Return of the zeppelins
As stated in this news article, the classic German airships are returning to the skies. In fact, right now you can have a tour of San Francisco Bay in a modern day zeppelin, and there are plans of air tours being available in New York and Florida in the next couple of years.
I believe this is a fantastic idea, and personally, I only wonder why it took so long for such a thing to return to the skies.
Back in the 1910s, 20s and 30s, zeppelins were common passenger carriers and machines of war. Fleets of them terrorized London at day and night as they bombed the city during the first World War. After that they carried passengers throughout Europe and even across the Atlantic Ocean. It was luxurious to travel on a zeppelin. They were sleek, relatively quiet, and offered terrific views of the terrain. The common folk had to travel by rail or ocean transports, but the wealthy were able to live at the top of their game and travel in style on a zeppelin. Travel by aircraft was also common, but those people looking to make a statement and with extra time on their hands traveled by zeppelin.
Then of course, the 9/11 of the airship industry occured on May 6, 1937 as the D-LZ129 Hindenburg arrived at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey. As the Hindenburg was docking, a fire broke out in the rear of the zepplin and rapidly spread through the hydrogen filled airship, causing it to crash the remaining three hundred or so feet to the ground, killing a total of thirty-six people. Sixty-two passengers and crewman survived the disaster. It’s hard to believe that anybody survived the massive fireball and crash after watching the historic video footage.
In addition to learning a painful lesson about using hydrogen as a lightweight gas to keep items floating in the sky, multi-engine propeller aircraft were also taking the aviation industry by storm. The zeppelins’ days were over.
So now, seventy years later, the giant metal-framed airships are slowly returning to the skies. You can now ride on a modern day (and much safer) version of a classic symbol from the golden age of aviation in San Francisco, California. How cool does that sound?
Now imagine being able to take a luxurious air cruise through the picturesque New England countryside on a crisp Fall day, or looking down on beachgoers on a sunny day in Florida? How about a Grand Canyon tour, or taking in the Las Vegas skyline at night from the skies? Imagine being served a luxurious dinner and then taking in New Year’s Eve festivities from such an observation point. The possibilities are endless.