Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Out of body experience?

We're enjoying many of the comments that are posted at the bottom of the various online news stories about us and will be posting a compendium of the ones that made us laugh in a day or so.

However we HAD to share this. A re purposing of the original CNET article was given a title that, seen through a 1960's cultural lens, fell into 'you didn't really mean that as it sounds did you' category.

Yes, folks, the "Zeppelin will give high flying tourists a trip". And you won't get arrested for it. Watch for the bumper sticker.

News comment roundup

One of the joys of online news is that people can comment on the story. We are pleased to bring you some of our favorite comments.

From Digg
Oh the huge manatee! (best to get that over with early.)

I would love to see this become a reality. I live right next to Moffett. I'd love to get a part time job on that thing just for the thrill of it.

from Topix

"...hey look up there...it's enormous and so long and hard and white...and it vibrates...I want a ride on that"...these people are BRILLIANT marketers...it didn't start over San Fran by accident...

from USA Today

Whooppeee I only like my Zeppelins full of Led....ROCK ON!!! That is such a cool idea that has been right under our noses the whole time. I hope it works.

And our favorite headline (1960’s inspired)

“Zeppelin will give high-flying tourists a trip”

A little more official

This morning in Germany Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik (ZLT) sent out our joint press release about Airship Ventures optioning Zeppelin NT serial # 04. Ours went via marketwire as soon as we woke up! You can access both German and English versions on our website here.

What does this mean? Well, it means that we have reserved it (which requires $$$) and that we fully intend to purchase the airship. It shows we're serious, very serious, and it allows us to work closely with ZLT as we continue to refine our plans. Actually, we signed the option in March this year, but we wanted to wait until we had a few things a bit further along, such as the website, before going public.

Why didn't we just wait until we were ready to buy? You know how sometimes you see something you want, and so you start saving up for it, but by the time you have all your pennies together, someone else has bought it and then you're really disappointed..? Zeppelins don't get built overnight. NT#04 is currently under construction, and we wanted to make sure we were first in line to buy it and didn't do all the work to prepare for having one only to then miss out and have to wait for the next one.

What next? We have a LOT of work to do. Our next steps involving firming up a lot of the operational details. We know there's speculation out there about where we'll be operating from (don't believe everything you read ), and people really want to know about buying tickets and so on. So, expect a few more releases and updates over the coming months.

If you are feeling even more impatient, may we suggest you check out Zeppelin tours? The photo above showing NT04's main longitudinal ribs was taken by John Christopher of Zeppelin Tours while leading a group of 'flightseers' in Friedrichshafen earlier this year. Currently Zeppelin Tours offers trips to Germany, but as you will see from their neat website, they are hoping to do more locations in the future!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Moving forward

I'm assuming that some of you visiting our blog (welcome!) are here because you found a story about us! We're excited that now we can come out of stealth mode and start to talk about more of what we are doing, even if it is a little earlier than we'd planned! The upside of being 'outed' is that now instead of my posting things once they are a done deal on this blog, you're now going to get all the gory details as they happen! We're also going to persuade a few of our team to start posting too. I hope you find some stories of interest in the archives to whet your appetite for more. And there's always our new website to check out.

Please join our mailing list so we can keep you up to date!

This wonderful image is created by Rob Walker who is doing a series for us. You'll be able to get them as notecards, postcards and T shirts in our webstore shortly.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Recruiting 'helium heads'

We're at flight school and listening to some fascinating presentations and discussions around the emerging fields of 'air taxis', very light jets, personal spaceflight, sport aviation etc. All these groups face regulatory hurdles as well as hurdles to reach market and attract investment. Heavy stuff. So we were pleased to be the 'lightweight' addition to the agenda!

Generally our ideas were well received, but we found a surprising level of negativity that relates to the perception (and in some cases, experience) that folks here have with blimps. As they generally haven't seen a Zeppelin NT, then they have no other reference. Perhaps this explains why many entrepreneurial airship ideas are struggling to find traction in the investment community - a perception of old technology, slow, unreliable etc. Something to think about in terms of marketing and education.

Fortunately we do have some advocates in the room. One of the attendees was recently in Friedrichshafen for a meeting with another aviation company based there. He said that he was traveling along when he looked up and saw the Zeppelin NT bank and turn and then start to land. He was astonished at the fact that it was so manueverable and commented to his companion that he'd never seen an airship do that. He came back to the USA and had made a note to himself that there absolutely should be one of these in Northern California.... we of course agree!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Flight School

Things have been busy, so expect a bunch of posts and news over the next month! Before then the Airship Ventures crew are bound for Flight School in Aspen, Colorado.

Contrary to the initial impression of the name, Flight School is not where we learn to fly in the traditional sense, but the combination of investors, entrepreneurs and creative thinkers that Esther Dyson is bringing together will most likely enable several of the new ideas presented to 'get off the ground'.

I'll try to blog about some of the unusual aviation related ideas that I come across, as well as people's reactions to our own venture.

Monday, June 4, 2007


On page 4 of the wonderful book, Dr Eckners Dream Machine, the author, Douglas Botting, is describing the passengers boarding Graf Zeppelin for her round the world trip. He says "Lady Hay Drummond Hay.....wearing a cloche hat and with a fashionable stole around her neck, clambers up the short wooden gangway - Himmelstreppe, they call it, steps to heaven - shows her ticket and enters the ship".

When I first read this I stopped in disbelief. Surely it could not be a coincidence that the nickname for the boarding stair for the Zeppelin was also the name of one of the most famous Led Zeppelin songs of all time, Stairway to Heaven. Indeed, if you hunt for the German lyrics, you can see it quite clearly.

Well, dear readers, I have Googled, and searched high and low, and this would appear to be just one of those coincidences. But what a wonderful coincidence...