Aug 11, 2014

Time Lapse Photography Blimp

In the United States the Goodyear Company is the most well known blimp. Goodyear blimps are a common sight in the skies over stadiums at sporting events in the US, serving as an aerial billboard and television camera platform to provide aerial views. In 2011, Goodyear announced plans to replace the current fleet of GZ-20 class blimps first introduced in 1969 with three new Zeppelin NT airships. Goodyear says this new design will be longer, faster, and more maneuverable than the current fleet, while also being less expensive to operate.

The new airships models are supplied by German zeppelin manufacturer ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik. Zeppelin and Goodyear teams at Goodyear's hangar in Suffield, Ohio, filmed the blimp build in imte lapse photography. Called NT for "New Technology", the blimp is 246.5 ft (75 m) long with an envelope volume of 297,527 cu ft (8,425 cu m).  It can carry nearly 7,000 lb (3,175 kg) more cargo than the current airships in the Goodyear fleet.

Zeppelins are so-called after the Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin who founded his company in 1896. With him, the age of the giant airships began and, in Germany, zeppelins became something of a national obsession. They seemed to possess an almost mythic power: like ‘fabulous silver fish’, said Dr Hugo Eckener, head of Zeppelin from 1917, ‘floating quietly in the ocean of air.’ The ocean of air is a far less dense substance than the ocean of water, so engineering a skin of tension fabric to cover a large lightweight compression skeleton is essential, and my favorite part of this short film is when the envelope made of polyester with DuPont Tedlar film is stretched over each metal truss.

But the noise and racket are terrible. Here is a test flight by the "Flite Test" guys, below. At 4:23 they cut the power and you can hear the silence:

Goodyear, how about a passive blimp lifted by sun-warmed air? Now that's an engineering challenge that will ensure the Goodyear name lives on into the next century.


Goodyear Blimp official site: