Monday, May 28, 2007


Upon returning from the library the other day, my eleven year old stepdaughter, Kaitlin, proudly handed me a book she'd picked out for me to read from the young adult section. Not because she thought that I could only read young adult books, but because it had, yep, an airship on the front cover!

Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel is an entrancing tale of a cabin boy aboard the Aurora, a vast airship sailing the world in an alternative victorian-esque reality. So alternate, that the arrival of a pirate airship seems almost expected and ofcourse there are no shortages of the fictional Hydrium gas, with greater lifting power than helium and hydrogen.

I won't spoil the plot for you, but if you have teenagers that you'd like to get interested in airships, I think this would be a nice way to do it. The website is fun, and an interview with the author in the back of the book reveals someone who also appears to be wishing for the day when he could ride in the same kind of splendor that Graf Zeppelin and the Hindenburg bought to the world. Apparently the book has been optioned for a movie. I wonder if they'll need a Zeppelin to star in it...??

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Airships in the Blogosphere

I like to be original about my posts, but sometimes you come across one from another blogger than you just HAVE to share. Such is this post from Airminded, a blog about mostly British air related stuff pre 1941. Apparently Hammer Films in the UK nearly made a film called Zeppelin vs Pterodactyls, a sort of 'Land that time forgot' meets 'world war one' flick. They only ever mocked up a poster for investors, but its tantalizing to think how amazing it would have been. I can just see all those rubber dinos against the painted backgrounds....

Hammer Films has just been reincarnated. Perhaps we should start a petition for this movie to be made!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

'Ships Cat

Given how many blogs have already covered this fun story, I was reluctant to do so myself, particularly as, unlike some blogs, I wish to respect the ownership of the Smithsonian in the wonderful image that has been accompanying the story and hence that makes it less attractive for you to read.

What am I going on about? Well, in 1910, the airship ‘America’ attempted a transatlantic crossing. Their engineer, also a famous aerial photographer, Melvin Vaniman, decided that they would take along a kitten named Kiddo. Kiddo survived to meow the tale, even if the airship did not.

The web page with more info that has permission to publish the picture can be found here. I’m also linking to this blog that has a good picture of the America, although I don’t think its permitted. And here’s a book I found that has the Kiddo picture in it, along with lots of other wonderful trivia about animals in the air. It's called 'Animals Aloft' and is based on the Smithsonian collection.

Which leads me to comment on the main picture with this blog entry, one of our candidates for ‘ships cat. "Sir Elliot Awesome Earhair" (blame the SPCA for that name) would certainly not be the lightest cat ever to fly but he was the first of our tribe to show some moderate interest in the Zeppelin. You never know…

Thanks to Mike Farr for the original article.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Zeppelin Pilots Needed!

No, not us!

Our designer, Matthew, came across this funky website recently when he was surfing and got such a laugh out of it that he forwarded it to us. Apparently the sultanate of Okusi-Ambeno has five Zeppelin NT07’s flying for transportation and tourism. As you will see from their job openings, they also need ground crew.

Not much information about the person who decided to put this site up, but he’s clearly an airship afficionado and we suspect he’s the guy in the Fez on one of the pages. The main site is more than 10 years old but showcases a gorgeous collection of airship related stamps, covers, postcards and airship imagery.

If any airship fans out there have further information about the genesis of this site, or if it's yours, please let us know. We really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Step One

Today several aviation and airship blogs reported that the FAA is underway with the airworthiness certification of the Zeppelin NT. Yes, we knew it was happening, and while there is still a ways to go, we can definitely dust off the champagne bottle, even if we don't open it yet! With the airworthiness certification process comes vast piles of paperwork covering all the attendant details and if you're interested, you can check them out here. The FAA is seeking comments on the design if you have them. While clearly we're excited to see this happening, this is only one part of the puzzle with the FAA in terms of operating a Zeppelin in the USA. More on that at some point in the future!

Sharp eyes will notice that this is Graf Zeppelin champagne. Not available in the USA (yet...) but if you are looking for goodies relating to the NT and want them now, have a look here - the Zeppelin NT webshop.


Friday, May 4, 2007

The Past/Future thing

It's been a busy couple of weeks - it will be fun when we're telling you about our actual day to day stuff instead of teasing you with airship miscellany.....all in good time. I'm sure I'll look back at back at this phase of the dream turning into reality with quite a bit of nostalgia in the years to come.

Which gives me a nice segue into talking about the wonderful inventions and ideas that were postulated BH (Before Hindenburg, the time when airships really fell out of favor). Take this piece from 1932 in Modern Mechanics and Inventions which tells a fascinating tale of the 'traffic dictator', the 'traffic god', that would be sitting in an airship above a football stadium after the game controlling all of the traffic lights to ease the crush of, oooh, 50,000 cars!

The blog that my friend Jim pointed me at for this inspiring invention also has some other airship related pieces on it which remind me of that superlative past/future movie, 'Sky Captain and the World of Tommorrow' with its massive aircraft carrying airship. Not so far removed from many of the heavy lifting airship ideas being worked on today!