Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rail Zeppelin (Schienenzeppelin)

The European Train Enthusiasts had their EuroWest 2008 show at Hiller Aviation this weekend. This is a club that caters to Märklin, Roco, Trix, Fleischmann, and other european model train brands. Inside there were several modular layouts in HO and Meter Gauge, and outside the Bay Area Garden Railway Society had a G/1 Gauge modular layout.

Of course, what should catch my eye, but a table that had on display several versions of the Rail Zeppelin. Starting from the bottom of the picture, they are in Z (1:220), O (1:45 in Europe or 1:48 in the US), 1 (1:32) and HO (1:87) scale.

The Rail Zeppelin ("Schienenzeppelin" in German) was designed in the late 1920s, and ran for a few years in the early 1930s. It was a specially developed high-speed train borrowing from aviation design, and propelled by a rear mounted propeller. It was able to reach speeds of up to 230 km/h -- a record for gasoline powered rail vehicles which stands to this day. Only one was ever built.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Zeppelin Etiquette

It's been some time since society faced questions on the proper way to travel in a passenger Zeppelin, but I'm almost certain the answer involves a monocle and a top-hat. These people seem to have it well under control, though... here are some great videos shot inside our Zeppelin NT #4 over London!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Feeling Small

So, we're about to take delivery of the largest airship in the world (unless there's something lurking in skunkworks somewhere) and as many of you know, we've been working with NASA to secure space in one of their historic airship hangars. These hangars are BIG. To give you an idea of how big, look at this diagram showing how much space we are renting to house our huge Zeppelin.
Makes us feel rather insignificant.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Can you see me now?

Over the past few weeks we have been working on adding a tracking feature to our web site to show where our ship is as it makes it's epic journey from the old world to the new. After a few days of the ship being on the mast, we got our first "London Triangle" today. Look for this feature to be live on our web site in the future.

Props to Reiner Hauser of SatPro for the hardware and Christian Michel of Modern Airships for web site integration assistance and the initial push for us to do it.

Steampunk Airship Pirates?

As we tell people, never a dull day in the airship business.

We received some email from a band of... Airship pirates?

Sure enough!

The band Abney Park rehearses deep in the Belly of the HMS Ophelia, in our Post Apocalypse Studio. Its a Steampunk thing, you wouldn't understand...or would you?

Aye matey, we do... we do...

Check out the video, or purchase the album on iTunes.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Just to prove all these London sights were taken from an Airship

Thanks to Michael for taking all these great pictures! (And to Sandra for the use of her Fotoapparat!)


The Houses of Parlaiment and Big Ben. You can see Westminster Abbey just behind in the middle. It is the slightly lighter colour brick. On the very right hand side you can just see a red London bus crossing Westminster Bridge!

The Millenium Eye

(Now the second best way to see the city from the air!)
Anyone else noticed that everything in London seems to have 'millenium' in it's name?!

Free Beer?

People seeing the Ship fly over London's parks have been calling the booking number, which is printed on the underneath of the Ship, to ask if the Pilots can drop some beer!

St Paul's Cathedral

St Pauls's Cathedral on the North bank of the Thames. The bridge connecting it to the South Bank is Millenium Bridge. The tall chimney that sticks out just to the left of the bridge on the South Bank is the Tate Modern. An art gallery in an old power station.

Approaching Central London

Here is Tower Bridge. You can see the Tower of London just behind it on the right and a bit further back is the Gherkin.

Boris's office is the bubble shaped building on the left.

Canary Wharf!

The O2 (Millenium) Dome

Watching the Skies

The Royal Grenwich Observatory from the air! The Grenwich Meridian line is here.

Sunday 13th July 13:30 The Ship arrives in London!

Finally we saw the Ship from the airfield, it flew in from a south easterly direction towards a small crowd who gathered outside the café to watch it land. Having looked forward to its arrival for over a week, this was a massively exciting occasion. It was seen from a distance and gradually everybody on the airfield turned their attention to the Ship’s approach. Later on that day the guys on the road made it in from their channel crossing and the London team were assembled!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Finally made it!

The weather finally let up today and Zeppelin NT #4, aka 'Star of London' arrives at Damyns Hall airfield in London. Thanks to Ruth for sending the picture!

More soon.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ground Hog Day

Ground Crew, Pilots and Mechanics were all at breakfast this morning for our now 'regular' 9am meeting. This is like 'Ground Hog Day' said Fritz. Ah, I said, I guess that means we're stuck in Bonn for another day.

The weather is pretty awful for the next few days, not here in Bonn where the sun is shining, but in the English Channel. A low pressure is sitting over the UK at present causing very high winds from the SW whistling through the channel.

The Bad News is that it looks to be that way for at least the next couple of days, and then another front sweeps in.

Someone was asking Fritz yesterday ' but can't this airship travel in 30-40 knot winds?' Yes, it can. But if you fly at 45 knots into a 35 knot headwind, then you'll be going very slowly and burning a great deal of fuel!

Pictures from the BBC Weather site.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Cold Beer Shower

Nothing like a cold beer shower on a warm summer evening. The waiter dropped a large Kölsch down my back. Maybe it was karmic - I had joked earlier in the day about ordering the rival Düsseldorfer Alt.

Friendly faces at Bonn.

The wind was gusting quite stiffly as we approached Bonn. Kate and Fritz put the airship down and the ground crew quickly got the mast truck in and the ship ballasted and secured. Awaiting our arrival were Scott Danneker and Matt Kilkerr who had driven up earlier with the maintenance vehicles to await our arrival. After nearly 9 hours on board the airship, even though it was great fun, it was good to be on the ground again.

Nuclear I assume

This is one of several power stations we saw on our transit flight.

Fast Ship

We passed over many water craft while flying up the Rhein Valley. Many were passenger ships on cruises and we were able to wave at the people on deck. This power boat caught my eye because of the angle of the sunlight. I'm sure we'll see all kinds of sea scenes once we are in San Francisco.

Crop Canvas (2)

This is the Rhein valley, and there are many variations on this picture I could have taken, all of which make great desktop wallpaper! Can you imagine Holland in the spring?

Put a plant in front of it.

My mothers answer to an eyesore was to hide it with a plant. Looks like the Germans had the same thought with this sewage plant. Just another fascinating, everyday thing you can see from the air.

Schlossed Out

Traveling up the Rhein Valley is amazing. Castles EVERYWHERE. Actually, there are so many that after the first ten you become quite blasé about what you are actually going to take pictures of. This one got a picture because it happened to be yellow.

(Air)Ship to Shore

A small boatyard on the Rhein caught my eye as we flew.

Roll up, Roll up.

Another item on our list of ‘things to photograph from the air’.
The circus.

Looks Like Lego

This is a distribution center. The lighting, combined with the mostly yellow truck fleet made this look like a lego model.

Carpet Bedding

UK seaside towns and civic gardens are home to a phenomena known as Carpet Bedding. This is when you take annual summer flowers and group them densely in a flower bed to create a pattern or picture.

While some US towns have carpet bedding, it doesn’t seem to be as prevalent as it is in Europe. Here’s a good piece of carpet bedding on the side of the River Rhein, spotted during our transit flight from Friedrichshafen to Bonn.

Bye Sis.

Older sister NT003 accompanies NT004 for her last flight over the town of Friedrichshafen, before leaving on her voyage to America by way of London and Holland.

Hands Free

It is July 4, the ship is headed for Bonn, and pilot Fritz Günther shows us one way to comply with the new California "Hands Free" law that took effect July 1.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Additional Equipment

Ground Crew Chiefs don’t usually sport large cameras. But Michael was documenting the departure of NT004 from Friedrichshafen at the start of her voyage West. There weren’t too many dry eyes on the airfield today.

A true flight of fancy...

"Mirror of the World"
Sponsor: Zeppelin Lounge
Artist: Zygmunt Blazejewski

One of our favorite decorated Zeppelins, this one is in the passenger tent/lounge. It reminds me a bit of an art car -- painted metallic gold and covered with mirrors and toy store dragons. A true flight of fancy!

Hangar at Night

All is quiet at the hangar the night before. The eerie green glow of the hangar doors isn't something you would normally see, but it makes for quite a sight.

New Branding

It was sad to see the Airship Ventures branding come off, but Josef and his team have done a great job with the new branding for Stella Artois and the Star Over London trip to the UK.

Zeppelin Canvas!

All over Friedrichshafen at the moment are many brightly painted Zeppelin models. They are part of the 2008 Zeppelin Parade to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Zeppelin Foundation. Here are just a few that we spotted.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Modern Art?

Zeppelin branding is done with self adhesive decals, and while it might look pretty simple from the ground, its difficult to grasp how large these decals can be. This piece of modern art is actually a piece of the Napa Valley grapes stamp from our branding, rescued as it was being scraped off the envelope and stuck onto a board.
It is about four feet across and if you look closely you can see it’s the bottom part of the bunch of grapes. We’re going to frame it for our offices!