What is a blimp filled with?

A blimp is a powered, steerable aircraft that floats because it is inflated with a gas that is lighter than air.

A blimp’s shape is maintained by the pressure of the gases within its envelope; a blimp has no rigid internal structure, so if a blimp deflates, it loses its shape.

Modern blimps, like the Goodyear Blimp, are filled with helium, which is non-flammable and safe but expensive.

Goodyear Blimp

Early blimps and other airships were often filled with hydrogen, which is lighter than helium and provides more lift, but is flammable. Using hydrogen didn’t always work out so well.

Hindenburg burning

Some blimps use hot air rather than a lifting gas, but the vast majority of modern blimps use helium.

Some of a blimp’s shape does come from air; a blimp has ballonets (sacs of air) inside the envelope that can be inflated or delated to compensate for helium that expands or contracts, so the envelope of the blimp stays taut and always maintains the right shape.

ballonet diagram

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Theda HolmesCynthia LuckeThomas FalaterKerry Morgan Recent comment authors
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Theda Holmes
Theda Holmes

It took 5 weeks to fill the R-101 with gas. How long did it take differently shaped zeppelin?

Cynthia Lucke
Cynthia Lucke

Today we saw the Goodyear Blimp over the Honda Classic at PGA in Florida.

Thomas Falater
Thomas Falater

I see the Goodyear blimp in the Long Beach, CA all the time when I visited there. I live in Seattle, Washington and never see it up here. It’s very large when you get close to it, you can see it from the 405 freeway. Thomas Falater

Kerry Morgan
Kerry Morgan

My wife & I saw a Goodyear blimp today near Hyden, Ky. in Leslie County, thought it was very interesting & went on line and read about how they operate, etc. Was wondering what it was doing in this part on the United States, very rare to see one in… Read more »