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The Gesellschaft zur Entwicklung und Förderung Aerostatischer Flugsysteme GmbH (Company for the Development and Promotion of Aerostatic Aerial Systems) was founded in 1975 by Karl-Ludwig "Mucky" Busemeyer to promote aerostatic systems in Aachen, Germany. Early developments were remotely controlled airships and hot air balloons used for aerial photogrammetry of archeological sites. GEFA-FLUG was one of the pioneers in the field of remotely controlled aerostation. After constructing a remotely operated thermal airship with a hybrid combustion/electric propulsion system the company started designing, building and operating manned hot air balloons and airships.

GEFA-FLUG cooperated with Thunder & Colt and developed the AS 80 GD and AS 105 GD thermal airships with a grant from the German government. The GD-series airships have a higher fineness ratio than the standard T&C models and thinner fins for better speed performance. The GD hot airships offer an advanced catenary load curtain system as well as a partial vertical partition of the envelope that allows to heat the front and bow of the ships independently for pitch control. As of September 1997, six GD-series hot airships had been built and serial numbers 7 and 8 were under construction.

AS 80 GD thermal airship at the 1996 Worlds in Italy

Today, GEFA-FLUG has 20 employees and is a certified repair station for Cameron, Thunder & Colt, Schröder Fireballoons, Raven and Lindstrand hot air balloons and airships. Its fleet includes half a dozen commercial hot air balloons and four hot air airships, among them two AS 80 GD used for advertisement and environemental research.

For more information, please visit the GEFA-FLUG web site or contact GEFA-FLUG directly.

Technical Data for GEFA-FLUG Airships
  AS-80 GD AS-105 GD
Length overall 36.0 m (118 ft 1.25 in) 41.0 m (134 ft 6 in)
Max. diameter 12.4 m (40 ft 8.25 in) 12.5 m (41 ft)
Volume 2,250.0 m3 (79,458 cu ft) 2,973.3 m3 (105,000 cu ft)
Max. speed 46 km/h (29 mph) ?
Endurance 3 h ?

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