Airship and Blimp Resources The Reference on Airships 

American Blimp Corporation

ABC is the only company that is currently successful in selling its airships. Jim Thiele, the founder of the Hillsboro, Oregon based company conceived a light and simple airship that would be easier and cheaper to build, buy and fly than it's high tech counterparts. Two prototype ships, the A-50 and the A-60 were built and resulted in the final design, the Lightship A-60+.

In designing the Lightship A-60+ Jim Thiele went without any superfluous technical gadgets. The A-60+ does not have vectored thrust as its more expensive counterparts do. The gondola is suspended by cables attached to exterior load patches on the envelope and not to catenary load curtains inside the envelope. The simplicity of this design explains the success and the efficacity of the Lightships.

Lightship A-60+ in Blockbuster colors]

Lightship A-60+. Note the exterior load patches.

Several Lightships have been sold to various companies. Two Lightships are currently advertising the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company on a year round basis. Numerous companies have leased time on ABC airships through The Lightship Group, the largest civil airship operator in history, which is currently managing over ten ships. Even Goodyear leased a Lightship and had it flown over the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway with their own name on it! ABC blimps have also been flown in Brazil and the People's Republic of China. By mid 1996, American Blimp Corporation had built about 12 Lightships.

In 1993 a new series of projects was started. The Lightship A-130, A-150 and A-170 will follow the same design philosophy as the A-60+ but they will be substantially larger. The first A-150 took flight in late December, 1996. By October 3, 1997, it had accumulated 683 flight hours. It carries about twelve passengers and will therefore better be suited for tourism and defense applications.

After the acquisition of Thunder & Colt by Cameron Balloons Ltd., ABC also bought the rights to the GA-42 design in late 1995. What will happen to the series of two place non-rigid airships is unclear.

To get the latest information on ABC blimps see the official American Blimp Corporation Homepage.

Technical Data for Lightship/Spector Airships
A-60+ A-130/S-36 A-150/S-42 A-170/S-48
Length overall 39.01 m (128 ft) ? m (158 ft) 50.3 m (165 ft) ? m (172 ft)
Max. diameter ? m (33 ft) ? m (41 ft) ? m (43 ft) ? m (45 ft)
Volume ? m3 (68,000 cu ft) 3600 m3 (130,000 cu ft) 4200 m3 (150,000 cu ft) 4800 m3 (170,000 cu ft)
Max. speed ? km/h (53 mph) ? km/h (66 mph) ? km/h (66 mph) ? km/h (66 mph)
Endurance 15 h/600 miles 650 miles 15 h/615 miles 580 miles
Payload 5 pax/1,500 lb 9 pax/2,600 lb 9 pax/3,625 lb 9 pax/4,650 lb

[5 Years of Airships and Blimps]
 - About
 - Contact
 - Map/Search
 - Airship FAQ
 - News
 - Hot Airships
 - Solo Balloons
 - Homebuilding
 - RC Blimps
 - Directory
 - Manufacturers
 - Organizations
 - References
 - Links


[Airship Resources]

Copyright © 1995-2003 by Roland Escher - All Rights Reserved.