How to fly a zeppelin: CNET News Video
CNET News Video: How to fly a zeppelin5:59 /
Fritz Guenther, pilot of Airship Ventures' Zeppelin NT, takes us on a tour of the cockpit and explains how a modern zeppelin flies.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:05 >> [Background noise]The Zeppelin NT is an airship used for flights above the San Francisco Bay area. Think that's old fashioned? Well the NT stands for New Technology and we got a look at what's inside from flight operation manager Fritz Gunter. >> [Background noise]Okay the flight provider system is actually, you have your side stick. You put it impulse to a side stick, it goes to a computer. This impulse then gets run through a bio system to kind of stepper, engine stepper, motors, which changing position from the elevator, changing setting of the mixture and all these. These are the levers for the half engine to go from take off and landing configuration to cruise control operation, or back to take off and landing configuration. This is actually our accelerators. So, mixture, RPM, accelerator. [Sounds of engines] And you can also hear the engines right now. We're running basically forward engine on zero thrust. And now we're getting to the thrust back. And these two levers are for the forward engines. To change the swivel position from zero, which we have right now, we can actually go up to 120 degrees, which we will not show you right now. The difference between the helium and the surrounding air. One degree centigrade is equivalent to 32 kilograms of lift. So when it gets hotter, the difference is higher, you get more lift. When it cools down, you're getting less lift. So therefore the temperature gauge is quite important. From this actually the pilots always gets some information if something happened on the ship. Right now nothing really happened. So, if he get a warning or something that gets his attention, he can now change the different pages for different system. This one tells him all fuel system. You can see we got three tanks. They're all connected, so we can do cross-breathing and all this. And down here, for example, is our air system. It's our electrical system. For example, I mean the whole thing is run on electric power. So we have three generators. So each generator has so much power if the two other generators are failing, the one that's left can cope with the whole ship system. So if the pilot has quite a few different choices to get the idea about different system and what's happened in the ship. These things are part of the shelf, nothing special. Any airbus has it. Nothing special. This is made especially for us. It's a gauge where the pilot can read the helium pressure and the [inaudible] pressure. This is quite essential instrument. And this looks really tiny, but it's also quite important for us because here you can read the temperature from the helium, and the temperature from the surrounding air. This display is also used by helicopters. So the only thing on this entire cockpit we changed, we put here a different kind of layout and we put our little tiny airship right on here. >> [Background noise]Right. >> [Background noise]So this actually it. Basically we had to do this because the ship is certified to be flown by one pilot and the flight attendant. So, if something shows up here, the pilot is able to change the pages to get different information, what has happened, or what do I have to do. So, these things here, they're our standby instruments. For example, we've got the altitude here, and we also have it here. We have our vertical speed indicator somewhere here, but we also have it here. So just in case the electrical system fails, we also have the mechanical system as a backup. We have three different autonomic systems. We have actually, for the flight computer itself, we have two of them. And if both are failing, the pilots have to change something down here, and still can fly the ship without any problems at all. So we actually, we have, I think it was ordered by the Germans and the Asian authorities because it was based on an order, we have the main system and two backups, backup system, just in case. >> [Background noise]Got you. >> [Background noise]This ship actually is always from the operational point of view, esthetically heavy. The reason why, it's just easier to fly. Right now the propellers, they just give us a forward speed. We have a little bit of angle for tact, to compensate for our heaviness, which is like 300 kilograms, like 600 pounds right now. And when we come for landing, then we start swiveling the engines to get a proper weight of descent and obviously come closer to the ground crew. And this is actually on this ship. We have the structure, the engines are far away from the gondola. But the oft engine as you have seen, they're one engine and two propellers. Driven by a drive belt system. So actually when we are below a certain airspeed, when the rubber, were not so sufficient anymore because of the lack of air speed, and then our [inaudible] and pitch control would be done by the propellers due to the pitch change. The pilot will actually, after he reconfigures the ship to take off and landing configurations, he will not get the difference if he runs aerodynamically on the radius, this the side stick, or if he runs the propeller with it. Because he is actually changing the [inaudible] the propeller is changed. And as you have seen, we have maneuverability for take off and landing like a helicopter. We can really, we can really land on the spot. And this is actually the whole new technology thing. [Inaudible] wire and our oft engine system which we, which allows the operator to reduce the number of kilometers.