Take a ride in a modern zeppelin: CNET News Video
CNET News Video: Take a ride in a modern zeppelin2:13 /
Airships aren't just for the 20th century anymore. Airship Ventures wants to bring zeppelins to America's skies for the first time in 70 years.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:05 >>[Background sounds] Airships, dirigibles, blimps, zeppelins, whatever you call them, they have an almost archetypal place in our culture, but their rare in the air and exist as a means of transportation mainly in science fiction and history books, until now. Airship Ventures hopes to revive the zeppelin as a means of transportation, at least recreational transportation. >>The majority of people that fly will be doing so to celebrate something like a birthday or an anniversary or having got a new job or something. They will get the most incredible vistas from that airship, the 360 degree views that you can get from the windows are like nothing else that you will experience in any other type of aviation vehicle. >>So in this society of cramped airplane flights, what's a ride in a zeppelin going to be like? So I imagine zeppelins as being sort of these 19th Century oak, brass, luxurious sort of something out of a Jules Vern novel. What's your zeppelin like? >>Well this is a new technology zeppelin which means you're going to find carbon fiber and Kevlar an aluminum and not very much in the way of oak and walnut and so on. Actually, oak and walnut's pretty heavy. And the key thing that matches on an airship is [inaudible], is weight. So you want to make the structure as strong but as lightweight as possible, because then you can carry as many people as possible. >>On board, you'll find a layout similar to a small aircraft. A typical console with a few customizations, a window that opens, and a lavatory with a view. But why zeppelins? Are they safe? >>Well the Zeppelin NT has 100 percent safety record. The ship, or one of the ships has been operated in Germany since 2001. We have so far flown 85,000 paying passengers with 100 percent safety. >>The flights last one to two hours and cost $500. Who's going to pay for that? >>Well the phones are ringing, so there are plenty of people that feel that this is a unique luxury experience and $500 for the experience of a lifetime, kind of seems okay. >>Airship Ventures hopes to start flying from three locations in the San Francisco Bay area starting in November. And then eventually move on to operations into other states, including a planned flight to the Ted Conference in Santa Monica. >>Reporting from 500 feet, supported by nothing but hot air, I'm Tom [inaudible]. [Background music]