More than 70 years after the fiery crash of the Hindenburg, that once-mighty invention — the airship — has been reduced to little more than a floating billboard.
But London’s Guardian newspaper is reporting that a German company will soon send a new airship to London, where it will take sightseers high over the city.
The Zeppelin NT, funded by German aviator Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, is now undergoing test flights and has already begun taking tourist reservations, the London Times reported.
The airship’s operators, the Guardian reported, plan to eventually fly the 12-seat craft all the way to San Francisco for more sight-seeing trips.
According to the Guardian, the NT is just one sign of resurgent interest in airship technology.
There’s even talk of a luxury zeppelin with an onboard swimming pool and dance floor.
The paper quoted Andreas Gruenewald, a blogger who covers the industry, as saying: “Over the last year or so we’ve seen a real renaissance in the airship ventures, both in manned tourism-based airships and in surveillance.”
Part of this interest comes from environmental concerns: Although they are significantly slower, airships are quieter and more fuel efficient than airplanes, and need no runway.
They are, however, significantly slower.
According to the Guardian, even the fastest airships would take almost two days to cross the Atlantic.
“Could Zeppelin’s airships soon be gracing our skies again?”
The Guardian, June 5, 2008
“Zeppelin airships to fly over London again”
Times Online, June 6, 2008