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There’s only 1 Lake Como. Plus Zeppelins, plus F-18’s!

offshore171

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Today we will be hot boarding. This means the zeppelin will not be tethered to a mast after landing, but rather will come in from its previous flight and rest lightly on the ground for the swap over of passengers.

This is a tricky exercise as they have to maintain a consistent bouyancy, so they do two pax off, two on, and so on, for all 14 passengers. If everyone simply disembarked, the thing would immediately take off and would be difficult to control.

Each pair has to be immediately ready to hit the boarding steps as soon as a pair of pax gets off, and you are prohibited from taking photos during this process, as it causes distractions. This is the main focus of the safety briefing.

Just prior to starting the hot boarding routine.
BB73AAD2-3433-4625-9663-181EF77849FA.jpeg

And we’re away.
DBDC58EE-3464-4FDC-890F-AB78D8B4B456.jpeg
 

offshore171

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The Zeppelin pitches up for the ascent, like a plane and then levels off at 1000 feet and around 80kph

At that point we are free to roam the cabin.

The windows are huge and very clear. Some are openable for the best possible photos, but you do need to be careful. There’s plenty of cameras on the bottom of Lake Constance.

FCC2E233-7667-4636-A52A-311F799D1E4B.jpeg

View out the rear window
6C0BEC4F-B8F8-4D5C-BF06-8CAED95BA90A.jpeg
Our route follows the shore of the Lake and flies over the town of Meersburg.
 
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Denali

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Definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Looking forward to more pics.,
 
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offshore171

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We then came in for a landing after what was a fantastic flight.

Unlike when we boarded, this time they did a fully tethered landing as they needed to refuel. This involves a large truck with a tethering mast.

Truck:
456DE298-D579-4CF8-A458-6D625F89D5C4.jpeg

They dock the nose of the zeppelin to the mast and then they don't need to worry about floating away, and everyone is able to disembark at once, instead of the 2 off 2 on method.

The flight was 45 mins and cost €370 per head. They offer a various routes and flight durations for different prices. Some are up to 2 hours long and go into the Austrian alps.

Overall a fantastic experience for anyone interested in aviation.

I've flown on just about every other type of civil powered flight: All 4 classes of commercial, various light aircraft, learjet, helicopter, and now can add Zeppelin to the list. Highly recommended.
 
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offshore171

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So what is a Zeppelin and is it the same as a blimp?

Zeppelins are rigid, either the hull, internal structure or both.

Blimps are much cruder, basically just a pump up bladder (like a jumping castle) with a small gondola underneath. Due to the lack of a rigid frame, blimp engines are normally mounted to the gondola, whereas the zeppelin engines are on the hull and tail.

Zeppelins are faster, more manouverable, can carry greater payloads and can operate in wider range of weather conditions. The design we rode on costs €18M and has a full "glass" cockpit, seats 14 Pax + 2 crew, and even has a toilet onboard.

Goodyear have been replacing their blimps with Zeppelins since 2014, although they still refer to them as the Goodyear Blimp.

That's it for the zeppelin ride.

Tomorrow we are back on terra firma, and visiting the town of Konstanz on the opposite side of the lake.
 

Vic

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Some specifications:

It‘s 75 m long (longer than a Falcon Heavy rocket)

Hull volume is over 8000 m^3, or about 3 Olympic swimming pools.

A useful number: One cubic metre of helium gas has a lifting capacity of about 1kg, so it has about 8 tonnes lift in total.

If that sounds large, the Hindenburg was 200,000 m^3 in volume...
And hydrogen has a greater lifting capacity than helium
 

JohnM

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well yes... my comment was for reference to the Hindenburg size and payload, which we know used Hydrogen
I did realise that - it's just that having more lift didn't do the big H any good :(.
 

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