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Zeppelins over the Bay

2008-10-20 01:19:47.953653+00 by Dan Lyke 8 comments

There's a Bay Area firm that'll be offering Zeppelin rides out of Moffett Field, Oakland Airport, and Charles M. Schulz (Santa Rosa) Airport for about $500 an hour. Some people question the business model:

Dianne Armer, a San Francisco financial adviser with LPL Financial Services, was puzzled by the timing of the launch. "I'm spending my days talking people off the ledge," she said of the global financial crisis. "They're telling family members there won't be the usual holiday presents. Five-hundred dollars for a ticket?"

The company is Airship Ventures, I generally find blimps to have a really annoying sound profile, I don't expect the zeppelin to be any different, so except for the novelty I can't say I'm really enthused about seeing them overhead, but, hey, aviation is cool.

However, if I were buying flights over wine country, I'd do it in something else.

[ related topics: Interactive Drama Cool Science Aviation Bay Area ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-20 06:56:49.442739+00 by: crasch

I've not ridden on either a blimp or a zeppelin, but the engines on a blimp are attached to the gondola:


...whereas the engines of a zeppelin are on the rear of the ship:


As a result, from what I understand, the engine noise in the cabin of a zeppelin is much reduced compared to the engine noise of a blimp.


#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-20 12:03:28.45595+00 by: Dan Lyke

My issue with the sound profile hasn't been as a passenger, it's been as someone on the ground. Airplanes and helicopters are fine, the constant droning of blimps is annoying, like a neighbor running a weedwhacker that never moves.

Maybe the Zeppelin will move fast enough that that'll be less of an issue.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-20 17:06:40.851153+00 by: spc476

Hmmm ... around these parts, the Goodyear Blimp flies pretty often and I don't recall ever hearing it.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-20 17:56:57.146325+00 by: Dan Lyke

My first "damn, that's annoying" was when I lived on Vine Street just off the UTC campus, and Good Morning America or some-such was in town and the Goodyear Blimp was circling town and I wondered where I could come up with a large caliber rifle at that time of the morning.

Recently we had one labeled Fannie Farmer, I think, flying up the valley, and I had that same feeling. When an airplane passes over, the sound changes. When a blimp flies by it's a drone that just stays around.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-20 18:15:55.102489+00 by: Larry Burton

I was never around blimps much in Chattanooga. By the time I had moved to Lawrenceville where we seem to have blimps flying into the local airport around four times a year I had spent enough time piloting a small private plane that the drone seemed almost soothing.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-20 23:17:19.529041+00 by: Rash

It confuses me, these references to Chattanooga. Are you in California or Tennessee? Anyway, blimp rides out of Oakland isn't news, but a rerun. Airship Industries was offering one-hour $75 rides in 1988; I was lucky enough to go on one. Didn't get as far as the wine country; but we were over Alcatraz and of course San Francisco. Since it was a blimp, yes, the Porsche engines were at the rear of the gondola, loud as hell; but I sure like flying with the window open. Allegedly dogs always bark at passing airships; guess they're bothered as well. Wondering exactly where they'll be docking in Moffett Field, former home of the US Navy's Macon. It lived in the beleaguered Hanger One which is off-limits for environemntal reasons, and anyway they've since installed additional wires and cables inside, meaning an airship can't get inside anymore. Hangar's Two and Three are still available, I guess...

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-20 23:37:41.3277+00 by: Dan Lyke

Rash, I'm in Petaluma, about 45 minutes north of San Francisco, about 20 miles south of Santa Rosa, but I used to live in Chattanooga, before 1996.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-28 12:11:00.390042+00 by: Dan Lyke

Wow, these guys are really good with the media stuff: Another SFGate article, with pictures.