FAA Certification Of New "Commuter" Zeppelin Under Way The FAA has issued proposed design criteria for a modern and much smaller incarnation of the famous Zeppelin airship. Built by the same German company that brought us the Hindenburg, among others, in the early part of the 20th century, Zeppelin LZ N07 builds on the hard-won knowledge about safe operation of the aircraft. The newest version first flew in 1997 and is designed as a multi-mission aircraft that can carry up to 12 passengers and two crew. The U.S. and Germany already had bilateral certification requirements for rigid airships, but because Germany elected to certify this new airship in a “commuter” category, the FAA apparently has to rewrite its requirements. The result is dozens of pages of technical and performance specifications that cover everything from the engine-out performance to the quality of water used as ballast (has to be potable water if it’s to be released anywhere but at a sewage treatment plant, which might be difficult to flight plan). Germany first made the request to have the aircraft recognized by the FAA in 2001 and it’s taken six years to get it all on paper. In case you have an opinion on the way these things should be built, a comment period lasts until June 4.
Interesting as this is already some of the insiders from the airship-list pointed out that the certification and the issues around it was already discussed 10 years ago on the airship-list. Speaking about certification besides the FAA Certification document which was linked in the article, I also want to point out the EASA Certification Website for Airships. The EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) is the European counterpart to the FAA as far as I understand. On this website you will find a nicely formatted PDF with the European Zeppelin NT07 Certification which was issued May 2005. Alex and Brian Hall from Airshipventures are also probably more than happy to hear about this, since they want to bring a Zeppelin to the US. Today we got one step closer to that.