Zeppelin grounded: Airship Ventures ends operations Other Issues, posted by Editor, Mountain View Voice Online, on Nov 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm
After floating its Zeppelin over the Bay Area for four years, Airship Ventures announced Thursday that it has grounded the airship and is issuing refunds to passengers. A lack of corporate sponsorship and high helium prices are to blame, company officials said.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, November 16, 2012, 1:40 PM
Posted by Mr. Nice, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Nov 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm
So glad I went for a ride about 2 years ago, we flew over the mountain near Stanford to Half Moon Bay and down the coast and back to Moffett. I will never forget that trip. I wish Google would ante up the 6 mil and keep her afloat.
Posted by Susan, a resident of the Castro City neighborhood, on Nov 16, 2012 at 2:54 pm
What a shame! I heard that helium is in short supply and that we should be worried about not having enough to blow up balloons but the Zepplin is one heck of a big balloon! I hope they find a sponsor soon.
Posted by Good Riddance, a resident of the Gemello neighborhood, on Nov 16, 2012 at 7:32 pm
The zeppelin was novel and somewhat nice at first, but I become a lot less pleased when they turned it into a giant floating corporate billboard for Farmers Insurance and other companies. I see more than enough billboards on the ground--I don't need them polluting the sky too. If they had succeeded in buying three of these things, it would have been even worse. Hot air balloons provide a nicer ride for less money, and are more attractive for those of us on the ground too.
Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Nov 18, 2012 at 9:32 am Max Hauser is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
The company's quotations cite the 1937 Hindenburg fire and crash, which certainly ended international public interest in airship travel. However, constant mention of that one disaster obscures the main historical peril to airships. It had nothing to do with hydrogen vs. helium.
They're aerostats -- providing unpowered lift -- in other words, sophisticated balloons. As very low-density high-profile craft, airships are vulnerable to winds, and are reliably controllable only in limited weather conditions. In the 1920s and 30s, several nations built vast airships, most of which crashed, typically in winds or storms, often with great loss of life. Including all three of the large US-Navy airships (one of which of course was based at Moffett), despite using non-combustible helium for lift.
Posted by musical, a resident of another community, on Nov 19, 2012 at 3:19 am
Admiral Moffett himself died when the USS Akron went down in a storm off New Jersey in 1933. Eureka was fair weather craft. We do have more fair weather here than many places.
Anyone disappointed in missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity might consider a similarly priced flight on the B-17 or B-24 next time they come through raising funds for their upkeep. Noisier than the zeppelin but you can still hang your head out the waistgunner windows. Those relics won't last forever.