Sunday, February 28, 2010

From our Counterparts in Japan

What could be more beautiful than a flight over California?

Perhaps a flight over Kagoshima, Hiroshima, Osaka, or Tokyo Bay.

Our friends at Nippon Airship Corporation (Japanese Language Site) send us these stunning photos of ship #2 in Japan.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Zip Tie Fun

I was asking Matthew the other day about the methodology for securing the envelope to the airframe.

Zip ties.

Aviation grade of course.

About 4700 of them.

And our team was inspecting them today.

Catwalk Being Installed

Between frames 5 and 9, Marcus is 14 meters up --  climbing harness and gloves required. The catwalk is installed in 5 sections, nose to frame 4, 4 to 5 above the gondola, frame 5 to 9 above the aft ballonett,  frame 9 to 10 between the carbon structure for the fins and the frame 10 to the tail.

-- Matthew

A rare glimpse inside the envelope

With the helium removed, and air in its place, we are now safe to start working *inside* the envelope.

Here we are looking from frame 5 towards the nose.

-- Matthew

Thursday, February 25, 2010

From Mobile Computing to Cloud Computing

Liz Kerton of the Telecom Council kicking off the 2010 Spiffy Awards recognizing innovation and excellence in telecom and mobile.

We'll be taking the winners on a 'mobile geek tour' of Silicon Valley.

Ship Fully Drained

The day finishes out with the ship fully drained of helium, and three bags full...

-- Matthew

Two down, one to go

Two bags full, and most of the third...

Each bag is 108 feet tall.

- Matthew

A Zeppelin in my computer game!

Last night I was turning off my brain by engaging in a computer game that involves hunting for objects in various scenes to earn items that you need to escape from an island. (I didn't say it was intellectual...).

Imagine my surprise when I was in the gazebo and there was a Zeppelin in the background. Definitely a Zeppelin, with the signature blue nose lines and fins and off center gondola. However later in the game I was asked to find the 'blimp'....grrrr. Don't worry, I'll tell the guys at PopCap about it (they came up with Bejeweled, so you can imagine how addictive this puzzle game is.)

The Transfusion Begins

Matthew sends us this picture of the start of the helium draining process - we are now removing the helium from the ship, and replacing it with air, while cradling the ship with supports from below.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Name that Part

The annual inspection started Monday.

Can you name this part?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Save the Peak

On our most recent trip to LA, we noticed something a bit different on our 2-hour studio tour.

The "Hollywood" sign had become, temporarily, "SAVE the PEAK".

The issue is that the 138 acre parcel behind and to the left of the sign, is on the market, and zoned for the development of 4 luxury homes.

A project is afoot to raise money between now and mid April to purchase the land from the private owners, and incorporate it into Griffith Park in order to preserve the current view of the sign.

For official information on the project, visit

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Aerial Joy Rides

Seen at Long Beach airport...

From LA, with Love

Michael C. sends his love to his sweetheart, Sabine, who is back home in Germany.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentines Preparation

A few of the gift bags ready for a full day of romantic flights

Parachute not included

Nancy brought her own parachute...

Friday, February 12, 2010

14400 lbs of cement blocks

With the annual inspection coming up, preparations are being made for one of the more exotic phases of the process -- the transfer of the helium from the ship, over to 3 helium storage bags.

To keep our helium storage bags out of the rafters we'll need 36 movable blocks of 400 pounds each -- that's 180 bags of Quikrete!

A rule of thumb is that 1 cubic meter of helium at sea level, provides 1 kilogram of lift. We'll have roughly 7000 cubic meters to store, and enough blocks to keep it all weighted down.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Have a heart?

We're kicking around the idea of doing something fun for Valentines Day...