Airships are one of aviation’s oldest innovation. They were flying before the Wrights’ brothers airplane took shape and modernized. In the first 30 years of the 20th century, it was faster and more comfortable crossing the Atlantic in an airship than the airplanes of the time. The history of the airship goes back to the 1850’s as a French invention. Airships went on to become commonly used aircrafts until the Hindenburg disaster of 1937, which made the public distrust airships as a means of air travel.
But airships are still in use today, but of high-quality engineering and offering more comfortable flying experience. Here are some facts about airships:
Airships are LTA crafts
LTA stands for Lighter Than Air. Airships float in the air because their weight is less than that of the air around them. This is made possible by use of air that is lighter than the normal air. Modern airships use helium.
Zeppelin is a company name
Many people will call airships ‘zeppelins’ but this is a name of a company that pioneered successful making of airships. The founder of the company was Ferdinand Count Von Zeppelin. His company made the famous Graf Zeppelin that made 144 flights across the Atlantic.
The airship called a zeppelin is a dirigible type. This type of an airship has a rigid bodywork made of light aluminum. There is the collapsible blimp type, which collapses completely when decompressed just like a balloon. There is also the semi-rigid blimp which does not collapse completely.
Airships have varied uses
Airships can stay in the air for long periods without requiring fuel. This makes them suitable for both civilian and military uses. They are used by military forces as listening posts and visual surveillance of opposing military forces.
Airships are used in weather monitoring and sports monitoring. They can carry few crew members with enough supplies to last several days. An airship’s large surface makes it perfect for outdoor advertising. The adverts can be seen from miles around when the airship is hovering in the air.
Modern airships have digital controls
In the past, airships were controlled using a round wheel like that of a water ship’s captain. The pilot also had to control pedals and pulleys. Nowadays, controls are easier, using digital controls. An airship can fly forward, backward and even pivot sideways.
Airship pilots are fewer than pilots
While learning to operate an airship is not very complicated, there are very few airships around the world. This makes their numbers fewer than those of astronauts.