The Zeppelin NT is a 246-foot long semi-rigid airship inflated with helium. The Zeppelin NT made its first flight on September 18, 1997, and when configured for sightseeing and tourism it can accommodate up to 12 passengers and two pilots. (NT stands for Neue Technologie, in German, or New Technology, in English.)
Structure and Framework
The semi-rigid airship is built around a framework of aluminum and high-strength, lightweight carbon-fiber, onto which the cabin, engines, and tail assembly are mounted; this arrangement provides structural support for the key components of the airship, and provides safe and stable flight performance, including a quiet and comfortable ride for the passengers. While the Zeppelin NT is longer than a Boeing 747 airliner, its primary structure weighs only about 2,200 lbs (1,000 kg) due to the high-tech materials used in its construction.
The Zeppelin NT is inflated with approximately 300,000 cubic feet (8,425 cubic meters) of helium, contained in a strong envelope made of high-strength multilayer laminate.
Engines and Propellers
The Zeppelin NT is driven by three gasoline-powered 4-cylinder Lycoming IO-360 piston engines, which have proven their reliability in decades of use in small private planes.
Three of the ship’s four propellers can swivel up to 120 degrees, which greatly increases the maneuverability of the Zeppelin NT, which is capable of vertical take-offs, stable hovering, and even backward flight. The ship can fly at a maximum speed of 78 MPH, but usually cruises at about half that speed when used for sightseeing and tourism.
|Maiden flight:||September 18, 1997|
|Engines:||Lycoming IO-360 with 147 kW/197 hp each|
|Length:||75 m (246 ft)|
|Max. width:||19.5 m (64 ft)|
|Height:||17.4 m (57 ft)|
|Envelope volume:||8,425 m³ (297,526 cu ft)|
|Max. take-off weight:||400 kg (881 lbs)|
|Payload:||1.900 kg (4,188 lbs)|
|Max. speed:||125 km/h (78 mph)|
|Max. flight altitude:||2,600 m (8,530 ft)|
|Max. endurance:||ca. 24h|
|Range:||900 km (486 NM)|
Passengers can take sightseeing flights in Germany provided by the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei. Companies that provided Zeppelin NT flights in the United States and Japan have ceased operations.