Saturday, November 7, 2009

Next Generation Rigid Airship Design from Eric Raymond

This is a guest post by William Anderson who did the interview.

Eric Raymond is the head of Solar Flight, the world leader in manned solar powered aircraft.

Solar Flight's Sunship Project will be the first zeppelin-class rigid airship since 1939, the next chapter in his scalable approach which has been used successfully on Solar Flight's fixed-winged Sunseeker Aircraft.

In this interview, Eric reveals how the Sunship can be kept small using modern materials such as Vectran cables. Another intriguing aspect is the use of a rocket-fired land-anchor for use in emergency moorings. And finally, he advises any newcomers with convincing ideas to start work on their ideas rather than leave projects on paper, and to assemble a high-powered advice-network of doers and creators in the field in which the big idea is relevant.

This interview was recorded on October 14, 2009.

Thanks to Kenneth Deacon, Airship Heritage Trust, and Solar Flight for use of images in the film.

Thanks to George Raymond for setting up this contact.

Thanks to Airshipworld for publishing this interview.

Thanks most of all to Eric Raymond for the fascinating story and details.

Editors Remark: Thanks again to William for putting this great interview together. If you would like to contribute to Airshipworld please send your stuff to

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Interview with Robert Rist from Ohio Airships

It's been a long time since I heard any news about the Dynalifter Aircraft that is being developed by Ohio Airships. But it seems like they rebuilt their damaged prototype in a proper hangar and are trying to continue development. I am still a bit doubtful that the Dynalifter will ever fly or if it does will have that kind of impact that Ohio Airships claims it will have. Time will tell. Have a look at this video that was just posted on YouTube where Robert Rist from Ohio Airships gives an interview about the Project, you get some good views of the prototype.
Ohio Airships

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Quick Update

Things have been really quiet here and I haven't been devoting much time to Airshipworld. My passion for airships has not disappeared but I had to step away from this hobby and focus on more pressing concerns. Never the less I am working on new ways to bring regular Airship news in the future, I can not keep the editorial work going at the moment so I am working on a few things to intelligently pull news from different sources and aggregate them here. Airshipworld wont go away it will just change a little.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Akron Windtunnel Experiments 1935

I just browsed a bit through YouTube and found a very interesting video of Windtunnel Experiments done in NASA Langley Research Center 1935. Worth a look for anyone interested in aerodynamics and historic airship footage. The models they used was a 1/14 scale model of the Akron and a model of the Lakehurst Hangar of equal scale.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gertler Series 58 Generator - Second Edition available

A year after the first release of the Airshipworld Gertler Series 58 Generator I am happy to now finally release the second edition of the Series 58 Generator. Head over to the Airshipworld Development Blog for the newest version.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm not dead yet!

Dear Readers,
yes there haven't been any posts in over a month. And yes we claim to be a news blog, so why is it that Airshipworld seems to be on a hiatus? Well there are many things one of them is a big lack of time. I currently can't put in the time it would need to research a for an article and post it. I can't even keep up with the massive amount of emails I get for Airshipworld. So please stay subscribed I will do my best to resume regular news posts as soon as I am able to but I can not promise when that will be. One thing that I want to make clear that it is not a question of "if" but rather "when" so we wont go away don't worry.
If you can think of ways to support me to bring Airshipworld back into a regular schedule then please be so kind and share your ideas in the comments of this Blogpost.

Thank you,

Editor of Airshipworld

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Airship Type Certificate and more for Sale

The US LTA Corporation Model 138S Airship is a small single engine airship that has been developed in the late 1980s. It was issued an official FAA Type certificate in 1990. The airship is a completely new design that uses a inverted Y configuration similar to that on the Zeppelin NT. It can be controlled with only a stick in contrast to the big wheels that are used on the Goodyear blimps. And the gondola can fit 6 people. It's a nice little airship and it is really sad that no 138S is flying today anymore. But you can change this. The Type Certificate with all Engineering Documents and a lot of Parts are on sale.
Here the complete list of what is offered:



All this can be yours for less than 500,000$ (USD). This is an absolute bargain if one considers that to buy a Zeppelin NT airship you have to pay more than 20,000,000$ (USD). Of course you wont get a complete airship but the foundation to start a business. If you are interested please contact me at airshipworld at gmail dot com. I can provide you with more information if you are interested.

The technology is of course not the most up to date but the standard of the 138S is more advanced than the Lightships and Goodyear Blimps that one sees flying all over the world. The Zeppelin NT is more advanced since it was designed a built a few years later.

This below is the Type Certificate of the 138S airship, and you can also look at the Detailed Specifications here
As2nm US-LTA138S Type Certificate
Here some videos of the Airship so that you can get an impression of it's capabilities. I personally think it's a very capable small ship.

Again if you are interested or know someone who might be interested please let me know, by sending an email to airshipworld at gmail dot com.

Disclaimer: We only report about the sale and are not giving an evaluation of the item on sale. The opinions expressed are personal and do not reflect an scientific evaluation of the item on sale.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Disney Pixar UP - New Envelope Branding on Airshipventures Zeppelin

The Airshipventures Blog has been called Up Ship! ever since. But now they also have a real UP-ship with the new envelope branding that was revealed today. It is featuring the word UP (the title of Disney Pixar's new animated movie) on each side of the envelope with the floating house of the main character of the movie and the company names Disney and PIXAR at the stern of the ship and the words "Only in Theaters" underneath the giant UP. Just the word UP is 78ft across and in total there are over 700 decal sheets with approximately 5000 sqft of decal material. It took four people four days to apply the branding which is provided by the team from Airborne Grafix in Germany who have been designing and producing the brandings of many campaigns of the Zeppelin NT worldwide. The decals will be off by the end of June so hurry to snap a picture of the new branding and send it to Airship Ventures. I find the branding absolutely stunning and a great example of how airship advertising can be, it's really one of a kind. It's the first advertising contract of the Zeppelin NT in the US but I am sure after seeing how impressive the airship is there will be many to follow. Remember the airship will be flying down to L.A. so you will have a chance to catch it there too.
But Airshipventures is not the only Lighter-Than-Air business that is contracted to promote the movie. Jonathan Trappe from is doing a North America tour with two armchairs that are lifted up with balloons, just like the house in the movie. One chair tours the west coast the other the east coast. Go to the Website for a schedule and to volunteer to help out when they are in your area. Today and tomorrow May 8th the west coast tour is in San Francisco, would be fun to see a picture of both the cluster balloon and the airship. Thanks to Dan Nachbar for the tip on the cluster balloon event.

Monday, May 4, 2009

RC Airship Regatta 2009 - Last race and final results

And here it is the final Race of the 2009 RC Airship Regatta. The airship Iris build and flown by Johannes Eißing the organizer and initiator of the RC Airship Regatta.
Iris - Race 7 - Regatta March 2009

With 81,33 s Iris placed 4th after the blazing fast D11 the loud Adele and the proven Centriolo. After the official race Adele was flown two more times and the flights were also included in the ranking, it clearly shows that the pilots skills also play an important role in the race. Here now the complete ranking after all races.
AirshipPilotLap 1Lap 2Lap3SumRank
D11Carsten Seltz16,7912,9813,9043,661
AdeleTim Schaller22,2926,3424,6973,322
CentrioloDominik Baumüller25,6322,1425,5873,363
IrisJohannes Eißing29,3625,1426,8381,334
AdeleCarsten Seltz27,2933,2031,3791,865
Flugwerft FlitzerPeter Hanickel37,2433,4632,73103,436
AdeleMartin Wähmer29,8076,7045,50152,007
MakrobeDominik Baumüller71,3438,4165,68175,428
Roter GrafFrederik Gester148,54103,4492,85344,839

Here the video of Martin Wähmers race with Adele
Adele - Race 8 - Regatta March 2009

Also we wanted to show you the different sizes of the airships. All dimensions are in meters (1 meter = 3.2808399 feet)
AirshipLengthWidthHeightBlock VolumeScalePenalty
Iris2,000,400,400,320 0,684 0,827
Flugwerft Flitzer 2,62 0,61 0,53 0,847 0,946 0,973
Makrobe 1,50 0,40 0,32 0,192 0,577 0,760
Rote Graf 3,87 1,04 1,10 4,427 1,642 1,281

And here are all the races in one Playlist

To learn more about future races and to get involved yourself, please head over to the RC Airship Regatta Yahoo Group and become a part of the community. Maybe you want to host your own race somewhere in North Amercia or Asia, where ever in the world you are join the RC Airship Regatta Yahoo Group.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

RC Airship Regatta 2009 - Race Number 6

Race 6 is featuring another already familiar airship that is flown again by Dominik Baumüller who already flew Makrobe. This time he flies Centriolo an airship also already seen during last years competition. If you want to see last years flight look here.

Centriolo - Race 6 - Regatta March 2009

Since the airships have all different sizes the actual times of the airships are multiplied with a penalty-factor, this factor is larger the larger the ship is. The reasoning behind this is with a larger ship you have more payload and can attach larger and faster motors, this is not always the case that larger ships are faster but this formula tries to make the race a bit more fair.
With an actual time of 70,34 s and a calculated time of 73,36 s places Centriolo third after Adele even though Centriolo was in fact faster but also larger which shows the effect of the factor.

Ranking after race 6:
  1. D11 - 43,66 s
  2. Adele - 73,32 s
  3. Centriolo - 73,36 s
  4. Flugwerft Flitzer - 103,43 s
  5. Makrobe - 152,00 s
  6. Roter Graf - 344,83 s
Tomorrow we will be presenting the last of the 7 airships making it's race and we will be presenting the complete results table. There were 2 additional races with Adele that will be included in the final results.

RC Airship Regatta 2009 - Race Number 5

Trying to catch up a little I am posting race 5 and 6 on the same day. This is race 5 the airship is called D11 flown by Carsten Seltz.

D11 - Race 5 - Regatta March 2009

With a time of 43,66 s D11 delivered an impressive performance and was calculated 30 seconds faster than the larger Adele with 73,32 s.

Ranking after race 5:
  1. D11 - 43,66 s
  2. Adele - 73,32 s
  3. Flugwerft Flitzer - 103,43 s
  4. Makrobe - 152,00 s
  5. Roter Graf - 344,83 s
Check back later today for race number 6.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Zeppelin Airship make trip from San Francisco to LA in May

Airship Ventures continues to expand their operations and has some great tours planned for this season. One of the probably most remarkable and unique was just announced 2 days ago. The Zeppelin NT will make a tour from San Francisco along the Californian coast down to Los Angeles, around memorial day weekend. It's the first time that Airship Ventures offers such a long tour which will take 8-10 hours according to their website. Check out the Airship Ventures website for more information on their current Tours, Upcoming Events and the Flight Calendar. Below we republish the complete press release which is also available via Marketwire. For contact information please have a look at their Contacts page.
Airship Ventures Announces Historic Voyages Between San Francisco and Los Angeles

California Cruises Are the First-Ever Flights to Carry Passengers Between the Cities by Zeppelin

MOFFETT FIELD, CA--(Marketwire - April 29, 2009) - Continuing to celebrate its second season of operations, Airship Ventures announced today that in May, Eureka, the largest airship in the world, will make the first-ever passenger flights between San Francisco and Los Angeles by a Zeppelin. Bookending the Memorial Day holiday and a special week of Los Angeles tours, Eureka's first California Airship Cruises will allow passengers to enjoy spectacular views of California's Coastline and Central Valley as they sail in comfort 1,000 feet above the sights. Weather permitting, departure is scheduled for May 20 with a return on May 26.

"This is the first time since the Graf Zeppelin passed through California in 1929 on its round-the-world trip that sightseers have ever had the opportunity to view Central California and Los Angeles from a passenger Zeppelin," noted Airship Ventures Director of Sales Joanne Fedeyko. "Our inaugural California Airship Cruises and Los Angeles Airship Tours are quite literally historic occasions and they exemplify the type of unique experiences our passengers enjoy everywhere we fly."

In addition to a week of California Airship Cruises and Los Angeles Airship Tours, Airship Ventures will continue to offer scenic flights above the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas and continue its most popular promotions; highlights include:
  • Flight-seeing-for-Two: Share an airship adventure and soar above the sights with someone special with the limited-time Flight-seeing-for-Two promotion. Buy one tour ticket or gift certificate and save 50% on a second. Some restrictions apply.
  • Mother's Day Flights: Give mom a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get away from it all with an Airship Ventures gift certificate or Mother's Day tour. Admire the views with mom on board Eureka, or wave to her from the ground as she relaxes at 1,000 feet above San Francisco or Monterey.
To book a flight-seeing experience, or to view Airship Ventures' complete fight schedule, visit the Airship Ventures Web site at, or call 650.969.8100.

About Airship Ventures, Inc.

Founded in 2007 in California, Airship Ventures, Inc. operates the only passenger airship operation in the United States, featuring Eureka, the world's largest airship. At 246 feet in length, the Zeppelin is longer than a Boeing 747 and more than 50 feet longer than the largest blimp. Based out of Moffett Field, Eureka also flies from Oakland and Monterey.

The Zeppelin's spacious cabin comfortably accommodates one pilot, one flight attendant, and 12 passengers with luxury features including oversized panoramic windows, an onboard restroom with window, and a 180-degree rear observation window and "love seat" that wraps the entire aft of the cabin. Using the inert gas helium for lift, and vectored thrust engines for flight, Zeppelin NTs have been flying in Germany and Japan since 1997 with an unparalleled safety record.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

RC Airship Regatta 2009 - Race Number 4

Even though the spammers are annoying me by spamming the mailing list it doesn't stop me from posting yet another Race of the 2009 RC Airship Regatta.
Presenting by far the largest airship in this years Regatta the Red Count (Roter Graf) with almost 4 meter length flown by Frederik Gester.

Roter Graf - Race 4 - Regatta March 2009

The time of the Red Count was not the quickest with 344,83 s this was mainly due to the fact of engine and control problems that were not fixable before the race. Because of that this airship places last in the current ranking.
  1. Adele - 73,32 s
  2. Flugwerft Flitzer - 103,43 s
  3. Makrobe - 152,00 s
  4. Roter Graf - 344,83 s
There are three more races left and I promise they will shake up the ranking a bit so stay tuned and check back tomorrow.

Tightening the mailing-list rules against spammers

As you know we are running a small Forum & Mailinglist. It's a standard mailman list and I have always tried to keep the barrier of entry as low as possible to allow everyone who wants to participate in. That's why we have the Nabble web integration on our Website. Unfortunately some smart spammers thought they can send some very informative emails about growing certain body parts to the list. Since I have to moderate any non-subscriber when they post to the list I have a little amount of work allowing people in. Now with more than 20 spam emails arriving at the list per day I am not able to check all of the spam messages and filter out the one or maybe two messages that are not spam. Because of this I am introducing a new policy for the mailing-list effective right away. All non-subscriber emails are automatically discarded there is no message sent in reply to the sender nor does anything arrive at the list. From now on you HAVE TO SUBSCRIBE IN ORDER TO POST to the mailing list. I am sorry that I have to do this but until we haven't won the fight against spammers these problems will persist.
You can subscribe to the mailing list either through Nabble, you need a Nabble account for this. Or through the normal list admin interface that is available here:
I am sorry for any inconvenience this might cause.

RC Airship Regatta 2009 - Race Number 3

Continuing the RC Airship Regatta coverage we bring you the third race today. The airship is called Adele flown by Tim Schaller. Make sure to have sound on because this airship has a very distinctive sound.

Adele - Race 3 - Regatta March 2009

Adeles time was a speedy 73,32 s moving to the top position after the race.

Ranking after Race 3
  1. Adele - 73,32 s
  2. Flugwerft Flitzer - 103,43 s
  3. Makrobe - 152,00 s
Check back tomorrow to see if the next contestant can beat Adeles time.

Monday, April 27, 2009

RC Airship Regatta 2009 - Race Number 2

Today we bring you race two of the 2009 RC Airship Regatta it is Makrobe flown by Dominik Baumüller. If you remember the 2008 RC Airship Regatta in Munich there was a similar ship called Mikrobe also built and flown by Dominik Baumüller, the 2009 ship is called Makrobe because it is bigger than last years Mikrobe. Enjoy the race!

Makrobe - Race 2 - Regatta March 2009

Makrobe came in with a calculated time of 152,00 s compared to the Race 1 of Flugwerft Flitzer which came in at 103,43 s the ranking is now as follows
  1. Flugwerft Flitzer
  2. Makrobe
So stay tuned for the next race tomorrow.

Have a look at the RC Airship Regatta Yahoo Group, if you want to learn more about the airships and how you can build your own airship, too.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

RC Airship Regatta 2009 - Videos and Results

A few weeks ago during the DGLR Workshop XI in Friedrichshafen was another RC Airship Regatta. Starting today we will bring you each race in it's own post over the next few days and then ending with the results and a play list with the airships in the result order. The first race was by the airship called "Flugwerft Flitzer" flown by Peter Hanickel, enjoy.
Flugwerft Flitzer - Race 1 - Regatta March 2009

Currently the RC-Airship Regatta is a mainly German event but it would be great if people from around the world would start hosting races too. Join the RC-Airship Regatta Yahoo Group if you are interested. The next chance to see the airships will be in Torino, Italy at the World Air Games 2009. The Event is from the 6th to the 14th of June and the airships will fly at the Indoor Aeromusicals during intermission.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Alex Hall from Airship Ventures tells their story in an Interview - Updated

Just found this on YouTube. John's World a public access TV show from San Francisco interviewed Alex Hall from Airship Ventures about the Zeppelin how their business started and much more. Check out the 3 part 30 Minute Interview below or jump to our Playlist on YouTube

Thanks to John's World for putting the interview up and sharing it on YouTube


Well the video was made private, on request. Apologies dear readers this post is worth nothing now, since you can't see the video. You now have to be a friend of John's World in order to see it.

Update 2:
The videos are back online. So enjoy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"prospective concepts" transitions into "iii solutions" - files patent for "hot air airship"

It's sometimes strange how connections emerge when you research for a new article. Today I was looking through recently filed patents in regards to lighter than air and I stumbled over the following patent (WO/2009/046554) HOT AIR AIRSHIP flipping through it and reading the patent (in German Language) I wanted to see if I could find out more about this idea, see if there was already more information available on the web, so I did a quick search for the company mentioned in the patent iii solutions, the website is all flash so I can not link to a specific page. If you look into Current Projects you are greeted by a familiar sight, the Flying Stingray built by prospective concepts that we had featured in our Article called "Airships are just like fish in the sky". We will come back to prospective concepts in a minute but first I want to make the connection to the patent, in the current projects is an item called Hot-airships a click on it reveals a picture that looks very similar to the one found in the patent, it's the picture we also feature in this post. So why is iii solutions using the prospective concepts Stingray, well because it's the follow on company. On the prospective concepts website you can read:

In the aeronautical projects segment, tasks are to be undertaken in future which call for a different corporate structure with a stronger focus on project-specific issues. The decision was therefore taken to set up a new company to handle these projects under the sole management of Andreas Reinhard: iii-solutions GmbH.
Another connection that emerged during the research is the connection of prospective concepts to the pneumatics company Festo which I talked about yesterday, but I assure you that this really pure coincidence and wasn't planned. Festo and prospective concepts have worked together in project focusing on “Use of air” and “Movement in the air”.

I am including the patent below, which wont be of much use if you are not able to read German. Since there is currently no official English translation, I prepared these links to the auto translated Description and Claims. What do you think of the patent and the claims? Post your feed back in the comments or start a discussion in the forum, I would love to hear from you.
(WO/2009/046554) HOT AIR AIRSHIP

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Festo did it again, this time it's flying penugins

If you have been reading the Blog for a while you will know that Festo is not a stranger to this Blog. They have been making the news pretty regularly every year with their Bionic Learning Networks flying animals which they develop as eye catchers for the Hannover Messe each year. After the flying manta ray called Air_ray in 2007 and the flying jellyfish called AirJelly in 2008 this year it's penguins and you guessed it they are appropriately named AirPenguin. The Air_ray did make it onto YouTube a while after it was presented at the Hannover Messe, the AirJelly was uploaded by Airshipworld to YouTube directly when it was published on Festos website, the result was that the AirJelly got a tremendous publicity all over the web with over 380.000 views of it's video.
This year Festo decided to start their own YouTube Channel called FestoHQ and they added all the Videos of the things that they will be presenting at the Hanover Messe 2009 which starts tomorrow April 20th 2009. So here you go watch the graceful AirPenguins fly, and also watch the second video with some more of Festos projects that they will be presenting, the second Video also contains an explanation of the AirPenguins. Unfortunately Festo disabled the embedding of the videos which is a shame. If you aren't into the videos to much, just below we have added the whitepaper that you can get from Festo which explains the Airpenguins technology, its an interesting read especially for those building small remote conrtolled airships themself.

AirPenguin A group of autonomously flying penguins Info Flying through the sea of air with collective behaviour AirPenguin – technology-bearers for adaptive flapping-wing mechanisms The AirPenguin is an autonomously flying object that comes close to its natural archetype in terms of agility and manoeuvrability. It comprises a helium-filled ballonett, which has a capacity of approx. 1 cubic metre and thus generates approx. 1 kg of buoyant force; at each end of the ballonett is a pyramid-shaped flexible structure of four carbon fibre rods, which are connected at joints by a series of rings spaced approx. 10 cm apart. The rings together with the carbon fibre rods yield a 3D Fin Ray ® structure that can be freely moved in any spatial direction. The Fin Ray ® structure was derived from the anatomy of a fish’s fin and extended here for the first time to applications in three-dimensional space. Each pair of spatially opposed carbon fibre rods is connected via bowden wires and a double pulley, and can be extended and retracted in contrary motion by means of an actuator. This gives rise to rotation free of play both at the tip of the AirPenguin’s nose and at the end of its tail. By superimposing two perpendicular planes of rotation, any desired spatial orientation can be realised. A strut to which the two wings are attached passes through the helium-filled ballonett. This new type of wing design can produce either forward or reverse thrust. Each wing is controlled by two actuators: a flapping actuator for the up-and-down movement of the wings, and a further unit that displaces the wing strut to alter the pressure point of the wings. There is also a central rotational actuator for the two flapping wings that directs their thrust upwards or downwards, thus making the AirPenguins rise or descend. All three actuators are proportionally controlled. This makes for continuously variable control of the flapping frequency, forward and reverse motion, and ascent and descent. Penguins are fascinating creatures which have lost their ability to fly in the course of their phylogenetic development as marine birds. With the AirPenguins, the engineers have created artificial penguins and taught them “autonomous flight in the sea of air”. The knowledge acquired from this research project of Festo’s Bionic Learning Network is to be put to use for future requirements in the automation of production processes. The entire wing complex comprises a strut with flat flexible wings of extruded polyurethane foam. The wing strut, which is supported at the pivot point of the torso, can be moved either towards the front or rear edge of the wing. Displacing the strut towards the front, for example, causes the wing’s pressure point to migrate forwards. The pressure of the airstream bends the cross-section of the wing in such a way as to produce a profile that generates forward thrust. If the wing strut is moved towards the rear edge of the wing, the pressure point is likewise moved to the rear, and the AirPenguin flies backwards. With this design a self-regulating, wing pressure-controlled, passively twisting adaptive wing has been realised for the first time. 2 Rear section with 3D Fin Ray ® structure AirPenguin – autonomous self-regulating systems with collective behaviour The AirPenguins are also equipped with complex navigation and communication facilities that allow them to explore their “sea of air” on their own initiative, either autonomously or in accordance with fixed rules. The underlying project: A group of three autonomously flying penguins hovers freely through a defined air space that is monitored by invisible ultrasound “transmitting stations”. The penguins can move freely within this space; a microcontroller gives them free will in order to explore it. The microcontroller also controls a total of nine digital actuators for the wings and for the head and tail sections. By means of XBee, based on ZigBee, large volumes of data can be transmitted between the penguins and the transmitting stations by 2.4-GHz band radio. The penguins recognise each other on the basis of their distances to the transmitting stations. The rapid, precise control allows the AirPenguins to fly in a group without colliding, while also mastering height control and positional stability. As an alternative, they can act synchronously as a group. A comprehensive central surveillance system provides security in case of sensor failure and reports low energy supply. Whenever necessary, it prompts the penguins to return to the charging station. Technology-bearers for the automation technology of tomorrow If the 3D Fin Ray ® structure of the head and tail sections is transferred to the requirements of automation technology, it can be used for instance in a flexible tripod with a very large scope of operation in comparison with conventional tripods. Fitted with electric drive mechanisms, the BionicTripod from Festo for example makes for precise, rapid movements, just like the AirPenguin. Autonomous, versatile, adaptive self-regulating processes will acquire increasing significance in future for automation in production. The animal kingdom can provide insights here which, when implemented by resourceful engineers, lead to astounding new applications. The ongoing development of sensor and control technology is thus also being promoted along the road to decentralised, autonomously self-controlling and self-organising systems thanks to inspiration from nature. The transfer to automation technology is also to be found by analogy in regulating technology from Festo, for example in the new VPPM and VPWP proportional-pressure regulators for servo-pneumatics. 3 Technical data Overall length: Max. torso diameter: Helium volume: Wing span: Weight: Control of wings, head and tail segments: Materials Buoyancy body: Head and tail segments: Wings: Wing strut: Accumulator battery for wing drive and torso orientation: Receiver sensors: 3.70 m 0.88 m 0.980 cbm 2.48 m 1.0 kg 9 digital actuators, range 180° aluminium-metallised foil, 22 g/qm 3D Fin Ray Effect ® structure of carbon-fibre rods extruded polyurethane foam carbon-fibre rod Project partners Project initiator: Dr. Wilfried Stoll, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Festo AG Project manager: Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Markus Fischer, Corporate Design, Festo AG & Co. KG AirPenguin concept and realisation: Rainer and Günther Mugrauer, Clemens Gebert Effekt-Technik GmbH, Schlaitdorf, Germany Autonomous control concept and realisation: Dipl.-Ing. Agalya Nagarathinam, Dipl.-Ing. Kristof Jebens Ingenieurbüro Jebens & Nagarathinam GbR, Gärtringen, Germany Photos: Walter Fogel, Angelbachtal, Germany Graphic design: Atelier Frank, Berlin, Germany Li-Po battery, 2000 mAh, 4.2 V 32-bit microcontroller @ 50 MHz MCU 2x LM3S811 64 kbyte flash, 8 kbyte RAM SCP 1000 pressure sensor ultrasound receiver capsules Altitude measurement: Distance measurement: Measurement of rotation rate about vertical axis: Lisy 300-AL gyroscope Directional and positional sensors: positionally compensated 3-axis compass with accelerometer Temperature measurement: temperature sensor 2.4 GHz radio transmission: based on ZigBee Current and voltage monitoring for Li-Po cell Overvoltage protection: DS2764 Li-Po protector Charging controller for Li-Po cell: Max1555 charging controller Accumulator battery: Li-Po battery, 2000 mAh, 4.2 V Base stations/ transmitting stations: Altitude measurement: Distance measurement: Temperature measurement: 2.4 GHz radio transmission: Current and voltage monitoring for Li-Po cell Overvoltage protection: Charging controller for Li-Po cell: Energy reserve for approx. 50 h continuous operation: Brands: 32-bit microcontroller @ 50 MHz MCU LM3S811 64 kbyte flash, 8 kbyte RAM SCP 1000 pressure sensor ultrasound transmitters temperature sensor based on ZigBee Festo AG & Co. KG Corporate Design Plieninger Straße 50 73760 Ostfildern Germany Phone +49 711/347- 38 80 Fax +49 711/347- 38 99 fish@ DS2764 Li-Po protector Max1555 charging controller Li-Po battery, 2000 mAh, 4.2 V Fin Ray Effect ® is a brand of EvoLogics GmbH, Berlin, Germany 54709/EN

I don't want to leave you completely without videos so here the Air_ray and the AirJelly videos from 2007 and 2008.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

2 years and 85.000 visits later

Welcome airship enthusiasts,
Airshipworld is a new Blog about anything Airship and nothing but Airships, if they are LTA or HTA doesn't matter, what matters is that we are wanting to bring the community together. This site should become the central hub for all Airship news, events, announcements, sightings and everything else of interest for the Airship community. In the next weeks there is going to be a lot happening, so stay tuned.
It was 2 years ago when I posted these lines and started this little experiment called "The Airshipworld Blog". Since then I have learned a lot about blogging, the airship industry and of course airships. I have met many great people and made contact to the Airship Association, the DGLR, IsoPolar and others. It is still hard to believe that 2 years ago no one in the community knew me. Thanks for letting me in and helping me to become a part of the community. I started with a simple Blogger blog template which was more or less suited for the Airshipworld Blog.
The template was nothing special but it was good enough to get the word out and to publish. With visitor numbers increasing it made sense to put up some ads to get a little kick back for my blogging work, and by the end of 2007 I had made enough money to get a full Domain with web space and all the bells and whistles someone could ask for. was born. In January 2008 we also did our first design refresh, moving away from the Blogger theme to a theme completely designed for Airshipworld.

This was how the blog looked ever since January 2008, visitor numbers grew fast to over 8000 visits a month in Summer 2008, this was probably also related to the many events that happened in 2008, like the Zeppelin NT #4 that was flying over London and then later transported to the US for Airship Ventures. Just look into the archives of 2008 it's crazy how much had happened, we even released our first Software the Gertler Series 58 Generator.
As the year came to a close I had to slow down a little with the blog but kept working on Airshipworld as much as my time permitted. End of February 2009 we were proud to announce the Airshipworld Event Calendar, which is a collaborative Calendar solely dedicated to capture Airship and Lighter-Than-Air events all around the world. We have many features planned, but are also looking for your contributions, to make the Calendar a central place for the airship community to contribute and find events.
Another big step forward in 2008 was that I attended two important Airship Events last year, the first one was the International Airship Convention in Friedrichshafen the other one was the Airship Association Annual Symposium. I was allowed to film the sessions of both events, so the video of all the sessions is captured and preserved for history. I am working with the Airship Association and the DGLR on how to publish the videos, it will take a while to work out everything in regards to copyrights and licensing but once we cracked that nut we should be able to launch a video portal for session videos from conferences.

For this year I will record the Sessions of the DGLR Workshop XI and plan on coming to the Airships to the Arctic Symposium in Calgary this fall. So there is lot's of material coming. If you have experience with publishing video on the internet both the legal and technical aspects please contact me any help is highly appreciated. We are also bringing you an upgraded layout for the Blog, that aligns with the layouts of the Forum and the Events Calendar and we are planing on providing more services, beyond the Blog and utilizing the Website more. I will still blog but am in desperate need for contributing editors, so if you are interested please send an email.
So now after 2 years and 85.000 visits all that's left to say is Happy Birthday Airshipworld.

Video of the Zeppelin NT with the new branding

The new season has just started for the Zeppelin D-LZZF in Friedrichshafen. We featured a photo of the new Süddeutsche Zeitung branding in our last post. Now we can bring you a video of the Zeppelin featuring the new branding and showing a glimpse of the Skyship that is just in the hangar in Friedrichshafen.

Thanks to Brian Hall from Airship Ventures for the tip via the Colorado Airship-List

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

DGLR Workshop XI this Friday and Saturday in Friedrichshafen

We mentioned it already in a pre-announcement in early February, but now we have the final invitation and the program for the DGLR Workshop XI this weekend in Friedrichshafen Germany.
I have attached the Invitation and the program below, if you are in the area why not stop by. Prices range from 20 Euros for students to 45 Euros for people who aren't members of the DGLR, so it's quite affordable for a two day event. If you cant read the German invitation don't be shy to email me your questions I will try to answer them.
The Workshop starts Friday morning 9:40 and ends on Saturday with the RC Airship Regatta around 15:00. I will be there and take pictures and videos of the sessions and the event. I will probably also write one or the other Blog post. If you are reading the blog and are also in Friedrichshafen this weekend, let me know so that we can meet.
Einladung DGLR Workshop XI 2009
Programm DGLR Workshop XI 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

KQED - QUEST Segment on Airships

KQED is a public broadcasting station for Northern California, one of their shows is QUEST a "multimedia series about the people behind San Francisco Bay Area science and environmental issues" it combines traditional media like TV and radio with new media formats like a website containing a blog and audio podcasts as well as video podcasts. This current season opened with a segment about airships, looking back at the USS Macon (ZRS-5) disaster and looking at the Zeppelin NT based at Moffett Field and operated by Airship Ventures.

QUEST on KQED Public Media.
To get a better version of the Video jump to Zeppelins Resurrected page on the QUEST website. You can also download the 80MB MPEG4 Video here. If you don't know how to watch MPEG-4/h.264 download VLC Player or Apples QuickTime/iTunes, both are freeware and play M4V files.

You should also check out the Zeppelins Resurrected page contains also additional content and links, like this nice slide show of photos taken during the shooting of the segment on the QUEST page.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Zeppelin starts into the next season in Germany

The Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei just announced that they will start their flights again in Friedrichshafen after the 3 month winter break on Friday 13th 2009 at 12.15. They obviously aren't superstitious about Friday the 13th but I guess after 8 years of successful flight operations and more than 85.000 passengers this 9th season of flights will just be as successful as the previous ones. But the Zeppelin will not only fly in Friedrichshafen, just like last year the Zeppelin will be flying over Munich again. It will be based at the Airport Oberschleißheim from April 25th to Mai 3rd 2009. So what more to do than to jump over to and book your tickets.
We will be adding the dates also to our Events Calendar also below the full Press Release in German. If you have any questions about it or want to know more just send me an email.

Zeppelin NT - Saisonstart 2009

PRESSEINFORMATION Zeppelin NT startet in seine 9. Flugsaison Friedrichshafen, 12. März 2009 – Am Freitag den 13. März 2009 eröffnet die Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH um 12.15 Uhr erneut die Flugsaison rund um den Bodensee. Zum Saisonstart ziert die Süddeutsche Zeitung die Aussenhülle des Zeppelin NT. Die Jahresinspektion des Zeppelin NT ist abgeschlossen – das Zeppelin-Team freut sich auf die ersten Fluggäste des Jahres, freie Sitzplätze stehen noch zur Verfügung. Der Zeppelinflug als Geschenkgutschein erfreut sich für besondere Anlässe großer Beliebtheit. Seit der Aufnahme des Passagierbetriebes im August 2001 wurden über 85.000 Fluggäste an Bord begrüßt. Die Passagierabfertigung und die Gastronomie sind für die kommende Saison im Hangar des Luftschiffs aufgebaut und bieten für jeden einen einmaligen Blick in die Zeppelinwelt. Mit der Saisoneröffnung werden wieder regelmäßig dienstags und freitags Werksführungen angeboten. Nicht nur der Zeppelin NT sondern auch ein Prallluftschiff, ein so genannter Blimp, kann während einer Führung im 110 Meter langen Hangar betrachtet werden. Über eine steuerbare Webcam auf ist die Verfolgung des Flugbetriebes auch über das Internet möglich. „Nach drei Monaten Flugpause starten wir wieder durch, aber nicht nur in Friedrichshafen“, so Susanne Federle, Leiterin des Buchungsservice bei der Deutschen Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH. „Vom 25. April bis zum 3. Mai 2009 bietet der Zeppelin wie im vergangenen Jahr Flüge über München vom Flughafen Oberschleißheim aus an.“ Buchungen und Gutscheine können über die Telefonnummer 07541/ 5900 0 vorgenommen werden. Weitere Informationen finden Sie im Internet unter Zur sofortigen Veröffentlichung freigegeben. Presse-Kontakt: Kathrin Runge Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH Allmannsweilerstrasse 132 D-88046 Friedrichshafen Tel.: +49 7541 5900 547 Fax.: +49 7541 5900 22547

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Aeolus airship concept

In January of this year the web was once more flooded by a fantastically designed airship concept called aeolus. The design was part of the intermediate examination (Vordiplom) of Christopher Ottersbach for an Industrial Design Degree. What's interesting is that the concept was presented in April 2008 to the public at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig, Germany but somehow it got into the web and a bunch of Eco Blogs picked it up, here just two of them.Much is not known about the thoughts that went in to the project but one thing is clear the word "Design" plays a very big role in it. It has to be understood that the concept is mainly looking good and conveys a vision. It should not be seen as an engineering prototype. Commenters on the Colorado Airship-List pointed out that because of it's shape the airship would get minimal to no aerodynamic lift in contrary to the headline of one of the blogs above. Another lister pointed out:
[The] Large hull surface area means weight, drag and superheat troubles. This design would be [...] sensitive to lateral gusts and vertical wind gradients. [...] the turning characteristics would be challenging, if not a nightmare. Plus the aerostatic pressure would be relatively high compared to conventional airships.
So even though the project might look fantastic building something that would actually fly is a different story. To learn more about the project you can check the following two websites:One thing that the airship community should take away from this is that new airship concepts also need the right presentation and working together with industrial designers might help improving the image of airships and maybe even the looks. I will try to get a hold of Christopher Ottersbach to get more background information and hopefully more pictures. Also I would love to hear from him how he designed the Airships, which tools he used and how the airship industry can profit form his work.If you happen to know Christopher please send him here maybe he can post a comment or join a discussion on the Forums.

Airship Ventures gets new cash

On Feb 21st. ran an article called "Fresh cash windfall for zeppelin" about Airship Ventures the San Francisco company that recently purchased a Zeppelin NT and brought it to the US. The article describes the current situation of Airship Ventures and how the economic downturn affected them. According to the article they got another round of investments to keep the company aloft and operating. But even though times are difficult, the article mentions that Airship Ventures will soon crack the 1,500 passengers mark and has 800 more booked flights. That's a total of 2300 passengers with a lowest ticket price of 495$ the minimum revenue that Airship Ventures will have made is 2300 x 495$ = 1,138,500$ If you remember that the airship arrived in October that is only 5 months of flying in the winter, to me that is quite the accomplishment. Congratulations and best wishes to Airship Ventures, that the passenger numbers will increase as the weather gets warmer and that the birthing pains will soon be history.


Introducing the Airshipworld Events Calendar

© Airshipworld
It's been awfully quiet here at the Airshipworld Blog and you might have asked yourself if Airshipworld is dead, but rest assured we have just been working on something in our labs for the last couple of weeks. And today I am proud to announce the availability of the Airshipworld Events Calendar. It's a new piece in the big Airshipworld puzzle that we believe will bring great value to the community.
Right now, you can use the Events Calendar to simply find upcoming events in the airship community or you can actively contribute by adding your own events or editing existing events to provide more information. The service is completely free and will remain free forever.
For the near future we plan to provide an API which allows you to extract the calendar data so that you can use it on you website, personal calendar or in your publication.
The goal is to simplify our lives by having a collaborative events database that everyone can use and everyone can contribute to.
In order to make the Events Calendar into a great place to share and find information about events I need your help. Create a user and add your own airship related events. Send me your ideas, thoughts and feedback in an email or post it in the comments for everyone to read. And if you want to, you can also sign up for the Airshipworld bug tracker a place where you can formaly report a bug in the Events Calendar or can make a feature-request.
So have fun checking out the Events Calendar and let me know what you think, and don't be shy adding new events, it's open to everyone.
Oh, I almost forgot. The Events Calendar already uses the new design for Airshipworld, so check it out and let me know what you think, the Blog will change to the new design in a few weeks too.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

DGLR Workshop XI pre-announcement

The year has just started but already the first Airship Events are getting close. One of the early Events this year is the eleventh DGLR - Workshop "Luftfahrzeuge leichter als Luft" on March 27th and 28th 2009 in Friedrichshafen. If you want to give a talk, you can send your proposal for a session to the DGLR Fachausschuß S 2.3 - "Luftfahrzeuge leichter als Luft". The deadline is March 1st 2009 so you have to hurry a bit to get your talk in, you can contact either:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Uwe Apel
Hochschule Bremen
Neustadtswall 30
28199 Bremen
email: uapel (at)
Tel 0421 5905 2207
Fax 0421 5905 2279


Dipl.-Ing. Jürgen Fecher
Zeppelin-Luftschifftechnik GmbH Co KG
Allmannsweilerstrasse 132
88046 Friedrichshafen
email: j.fecher (at)
Tel 07541-5900-428
Fax 07541-5900-516

The talks are categorized as follows:
  • Research and Development
  • Projects and Technologies
  • Operations
  • Infrastructure
  • Regulations
  • Markets
  • Financing, Leasing, Insuring
  • Education and Training
  • History
  • Missions and Payload

Below I have attached the full german pre announcement. I will try to be there and hope to see a few familiar faces. Oh and of course there is also a RC Airship Regatta planned.
Vorankündigung DGLR - Workshop XI


Airship photo goodness

I regularly check the Flickr airship pool and there is always something new to see. It's a wonderful collection of current and historic pictures of airships, blimps and zeppelins from around the world. Currently the pool contains 517 pictures that's over 18 pages of airship photography and the collection is constantly growing. I my eyes it's one of the great collections of modern Airship pictures. And now I invite you to lean back and enjoy the slide show below, do you know other airship picture galleries, historic or current, updated or just an archive then share them with the other readers in the comments section.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

SkyHook International making progress but strugeling with the financial crisis

The JHL-40 designed by the Canadian Company SkyHook International and built by Boeing is making the news these days. The Calgary Sun has an article titled "Hybrid blimp plans face financial hurdle" the article gives a quick introduction on Skyhook and then talks about the current progress:
Within the next few months, SkyHook and Boeing expect to release further details of the aircraft, dubbed the JHL-40, Jess said, adding that by mid-summer 2009, all systems that go into building the aircraft -- there are about 2,500 of them -- will be selected.
and the financial situation which has become more difficult but not impossible
Shaky financial markets and lenders that have grown more reluctant to finance projects, however, have also made it more difficult for SkyHook to raise the financing needed for the first JHL-40 to be built by late 2012 or early 2013.

"It's progressing. It's just not as easy as it was a year ago," Jess said about the search for financial backers, noting he has received several commitments for funding.
You can read the full article at the Calgary Sun website.
While researching todays post I also found another very interesting article about the Boeing JHL-40 SkyHook in the Shipping Digests Air Cargo Category called "BOEING’S BLIMP" also featuring an Interview with Barry Prentice known from the Airships to the Arctic Symposium that he organizes with his research institute ISO Polar. The article is really worth a read as it goes into great detail what the JHL-40 is how and where it will be built and why it is of great use for the northers regions of Canada.
Also check out our older posts about the SkyHook concept.

I want to thank Darrell Campbell from TURTLE AIRSHIPS for the tip on the Calgary Sun article.