Airship and Blimp Resources The Reference on Airships 

Airship News 1st Half 1999 

Ninomiya starts Cloudhopper Site
Sunday, 27 June 1999

On the experimental ballooning front, John Ninomiya has started his own website, Ballooning into the Sky. It is a brilliant compilation of information about Cloudhoppers and cluster ballooning and all of the content is derived from John's long experience with solo ballooning. (He has around 300 hours in Cloudhoppers.) I highly recommend that you give John's site a thorough look.

Airship Article in Plane & Pilot Magazine
Sunday, 27 June 1999

On the airship front, the July issue of Plane & Pilot Magazine features an article entitled "Flying an Airship - Life in the Slow Lane". The article is geared mainly towards airship novices but features quite a few interesting details, such as the fact that a blimp can climb despite its nose being pitched 10 degrees down, or the fact that "the [Goodyear] Eagle uses two of the same model engines employed on the rear of a Cessna Skymaster: Continental IO-360 pushers driving fully reversible props." The article also contains good information about the costs involved in the operation of an advertising blimp. (It costs Goodyear about US$2,000,000 per year to operate one airship.)

Mysterious Ultralight Airship
Sunday, 27 June 1999

A photo essay about this year's Sun-N-Fun fly-in at Lakeland, Florida in UltraFlight Magazine contains an intriguing image showing a scale model for an ultralight one-man blimp. A placard on the gondola reads: UL-2 AIRSHIP. The gondola features two small propulsion engines in pusher configuration which would seem to be vectorable. If you happened to see the display at Sun-N-Fun or know anything about this ultralight blimp, please tell me more. (I am hoping to buy my own scanner in the next few weeks and will post the image here at that time.)

Gooyear Blimp for Australia
Monday, 7 June 1999

Exectly a week ago, on 1 June 1999, Goodyear Australia launched its own Goodyear Blimp, the Spirit of the South Pacific. Like the two ships in Europe and the one in South America, the 8th Goodyear Blimp is an American Blimp Corporation A-60+. The new ship is expected to cover major Australian sporting events, including the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

The Economist Links Airship Resources
Tuesday, 2 June 1999

In more recent news, The Economist has published a succinct article about the current revival of and improvements to rigid airship technolgy in the Science and Technology section of its current issue (29 May - 4 June 1999). Titled "Pushing the Envelope", the article discusses efforts by Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik in Germany, Rigid Airship Design in the Netherlands and the Hamilton Airship Company in South Africa to build more effective airships for applications in cargo transport and the tourism industry. Being a religious reader of the Economist, it is a great honor for me that the Airship Resources are linked in the online edition of the article.

1999 EBAA Meet Attracts Over 30 Balloons and Airships
Tuesday, 2 June 1999

In slightly older news, hosts Brian and Louise Boland and the over 30 balloon teams that attended the Experimental Balloon and Airship Meet two weeks ago at scenic Post Mills Airport could not have asked for a more successful event. Starting on Thursday, 13 May and all the way to Sunday, 16 May, every day was flyable. Mornings were very calm with almost all balloons flying and many of them flying various boxes and landing back on the airfield. Evening winds being a little faster, some pilots opted to stay on the ground while others went quite far.

This year's event welcomed participants from England and Ireland, as far South as Texas and as far East as Ohio. On both the Saturday and Sunday morning flights, 30 balloons were seen in the air at times. Among them were about half a dozen one person balloons, including Lawrence Feir's mathematically-minded Icosahedron special shape. Exciting undercarriages were there as well. Phil McNutt from Texas borrowed the cube balloon from Brian and attached it to an antique wheelchair as undercarriage because the airline misdirected his balloon on the flight up. A basket made of rope instead of wicker was also tested. In case you missed the event, several persons, including myself, are hoping to scan and post pictures during the upcoming weeks.

Upcoming Airship Events
Thursday, 6 May 1999

Last week, Robert Recks reminded me of several airship events which I had completely forgotten about. First, the AIAA LTA committee is having an Airship Technology convention at the Marriott Waterside Hotel in Norfolk, Virginia from 28 June - 1 July 1999. A free program can be obtained by e-mailing The program and online registration are also available at AIAA website.

Secondly, the University of Virginia is sponsoring SUNRAYCE-99. Starting from Charlottesville, Virginia on 15 June 1999, eight solar powered blimps will be racing down to Orlando, Florida. For the latest info contact

100,000 Visitors to Airship Resources
Thursday, 6 May 1999

Last but not least, the 100,000th visitor set foot onto the Airship Resources sometime on Monday. For me, it is a pleasure to know that over the last few years, approximately 100 persons a day have showed interest in airships by visiting this site. Now if we could only build airships that they all could get a ride in.

Don't Forget Experimental Meet in Post Mills
Monday, 26 April 1999

Don't forget the 1999 Experimental Balloon and Airship Meet which is taking place from 14-16 May (Friday through Saturday) in Post Mills Vermont. Dozens of experimental balloonists and their aerostats will be there. Everybody is looking forward to this great knowledge- and fun-sharing experience hosted by Brian and Louise Boland.

1999 Hot Air Airship European Championship Cancelled
Monday, 26 April 1999

I received word from Germany that the European Hot Air Airship Championship which was planned for this September has been cancelled. Hopefully, this will increase interest and participation in the 7th World Hot Air Airship Chamionship to be held in Schielleiten, Austria from 1-10 September 2000.

The Hamilton Airship Company - Seeing is Believing!
Wednesday, 7 April 1999

Seeing is believing! - Three weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Jonathan Hamilton, founder and president of The Hamilton Airship Company (THAC) here in New York City. He showed me footage of the first flight and subequent flight trials of the Hamilton HA-44 3000 m3 prototype. I was thoroughly impressed, to say the least. The flights went so smoothly that almost all of the excitement was lost. Hamilton's design, which separates tension from compression loads, makes the rigid airship truly viable again. In addition to being highly maneuvrable due to its bow and stern thrusters, buoyancy of the HA-44 can be controlled by compressing the lifting gas in the tubular spine. The end result is a truly scaleable rigid airship design.

Now that the small prototype has proven the concept, it has been packed up and shipped to the United States. Here, Hamilton hopes to finish development of the 50,000 m3 HA-160 and start serial production in a more stable economic environment. The ultimate goal is to conduct transatlantic luxury passenger flights with the first true rigid airship to fly since the 1940s.

Back in New York City
Wednesday, 7 April 1999

Nota Bene: I returned to the United States on 28 February and am now settled in New York City.

Thermal Airships in Crans-Montana (Switzerland)
Tuesday, 16 February 1999

Despite a severe lack of free time due to long hours at work, I was able to escape to Crans-Montana for a weekend in the Southern Swiss Alps a few weeks ago. There I met up with several hot air airship pilots. I have posted my account under Hotships in Crans-Montana 1999 in the Hot Air Airships section of the Airship Resources. The pictures I took turned out very well but I will not be able to scan and post them before the end of March.

Model Balloon Page Moves to
Tuesday, 16 February 1999

Please note that Michael Bölling has moved his Model Balloon Page to He has also added two new sections on hot air airships and RC airships.

Moving Back to United States
Tuesday, 16 February 1999

I am moving back to New York City at the end of February where my worklod is unlikely to decrease. News updates will continue to be far appart.

1999 Looking Good for Airships
Friday, 8 January 1999

Happy New Year to all of you! I hope you had a joyful holiday season, regardless of the religious group of which you count yourself as a part.

1999 is expected to be a good year for airship enthusiasts. For one, a European Hot Air Airship Chamionship will be held in Warstein, Germany in September 1999, for the first time since 1991. For two, there are several airship companies that are hoping to fly their prototypes this year.

Visit to CargoLifter in Stuttgart
Friday, 8 January 1999

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit Michael Boelling in Brigachtal and Stuttgart, Germany. Michael and his father Richard are very involved in the German ballooning community. Richard Boelling is a pionneer of RC ballooning and organizes the yearly Brigachtal RC Balloon Gathering. The two of them fly several balloons, have flown hotships in the past and are hoping to acquire a new hot air airship soon. Finally, Michael is currently working for CargoLifter AG, one of the more serious airship companies at the present moment. More specifically, Michael took me to the facility at which CargoLifter Development GmbH, a subsidiary of CargoLifter AG, is completing the assembly of Joey, the two person prototype designed to test the concepts for the supersize semirigid CargoLifter airships currently under development. Michael and I also visited the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen, where I was most impressed by the museum shop and bought enough books and memorabilia to last me for several months. I will try to give a more extensive report in the future, hopefully after a second visit at CargoLifter.

New Envelope for Fuji Blimp
Friday, 8 January 1999

In its November 1998 issue, Flying magazine reports that the Fujifilm Blimp, a British-made Skyship 600, has recently been fitted with a new envelope. The envelopes of the large advertising blimps have a tendency to deteriorate due to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. This means that airship envelopes have a limited lifespan. Over the last few years, UV protection has steadily increased due to technical advances in fabric materials and coatings. The new envelope for the Fuji Skyship is produced by TCOM LP which uses Tedlar, a high-strength, lightweight material made by DuPont. Even though the envelope still contains 247,500 cu ft of helium and looks just about the same as the old one, it is now lighter and stronger. Thanks to the new material, TCOM expects the new envelope to last twice as long as the one it replaced. The Fuji Blimp is operated by Airship Management Services of Greenwich, Connecticut (USA). A last noteworthy detail is that Fuji has been operating blimps since 1984, namely a WDL 1b in Germany and various Skyship models in the USA.

Site Map Completed
Friday, 8 January 1999

Finally, I have completed a SiteMap of the Airship Resources which will give you a hierarchical overview of the pages you can find here.

Archived News Reports
1997: 2nd Half 1999: 1st Half, 2nd Half
1998: 1st Half, 2nd Half 2000: 1st Half, 2nd Half
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