Zeppelin NT

The Zeppelin NT is a 75.1 m (246 ft) semi-rigid airship inflated with helium. NT stands for Neue Technologie, or “New Technology” in English.

The ship made its first flight on September 18, 1997, and when configured for sightseeing and tourism it can accommodate up to 12-14 passengers and two pilots.

The famed Goodyear Blimps are now being replaced with Zeppelin NT airships.

Zeppelin NT (photo: ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH)

Zeppelin NT (photo: ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH)

Passenger cabin of Zeppelin NT (photo: ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH)

Passenger cabin of Zeppelin NT (photo: ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH)

Structure and Framework

The semi-rigid Zeppelin NT is built around a framework of high-strength, lightweight carbon-fiber and aluminum.

Zeppelin NT Structure

Zeppelin NT Structure (image: ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH)

The framework consists of 12 vertical triangular carbon-fiber crossbeams, connected to three longitudinal girders of welded aluminum, with aramid cables bracing the structure and giving it additional rigidity.

All the ship’s major components — cabin, engines, and tail assembly — are mounted on the rigid structure to provide safe and stable flight performance, and also a quiet and comfortable ride for the passengers.

The author holding lightweight carbon-fiber section with two fingers.

Airships.net author Dan Grossman holding lightweight carbon-fiber section with two fingers.

The Zeppelin NT is longer than a Boeing 747 airliner but its primary structure weighs only about 1,000 kg (2,200 lbs).

Zeppelin NT Size Comparison

Zeppelin NT Size Comparison

Lifting Gas and Envelope

Zeppelin NT’s basic variant (N07-100) has an envelope volume of 8,450 cubic meters (298,409 cubic feet) according to its European Aviation Safety Agency Type Certificate. The envelope itself is a high-strength multilayer laminate.

Similar to a blimp, the Zeppelin NT uses ballonets of air to maintain a constant interior pressure and a taut envelope at all flight altitudes.

Engines and Propellers

The Zeppelin NT is driven by three gasoline-powered, 4-cylinder, 197 hp Textron-Lycoming IO-360-C1G6 piston engines. The Lycoming IO-360 has proven its reliability in decades of use in small aircraft.

The ship’s three engines power four propellers; three vectored thrust (swiveling) Hoffmann 2.7 m three-bladed propellers, and one lateral thrust Hoffmann 2.2 m three-bladed propeller.

Swiveling side propellers of Zeppelin NT. (photo: ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH)

Side propellers of Zeppelin NT. (photo: ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH)

Aft propellers of Zeppelin NT. (photo: ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH)

Aft propellers of Zeppelin NT. (photo: ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH)

The aft engine drives a pushing propeller that can be turned 90° downward if needed, and a steering propeller that can directed from side-to-side to function like the bow thruster of a ship. The two side propellers generally provide forward thrust but can swivel through 120 degrees.

The ship’s vectored thrust propellers allow the Zeppelin NT to perform vertical take-offs, stable hovering, and even backward flight.

The ship has a maximum speed of about 125 km/h or 78 mph (VNE is 130 km/h) but usually cruises at about half that speed when used for sightseeing and tourism.

The author, Dan Grossman, on the flight deck of Zeppelin NT

Airships.net author Dan Grossman on the flight deck of Zeppelin NT

Zeppelin NT Dimensions and Performance

  • Crew: 1-2 pilots (certified for single pilot operation)
  • Passengers: 15
  • Envelope volume (N07-101):  8,425 m³ (297,526 cu ft)
  • Envelope volume (N07-100):  8,450 m³ (298,409 cu ft)
  • Length: 75 m (246 ft)
  • Maximum Width: 19.5 m (64 ft)
  • Maximum Envelope Width: 46.45 ft.
  • Overall Height: 19.4 m (64 ft)
  • Maximum weight: 19,780 lb
  • Engines:  3 Textron-Lycoming IO-360-C1G6 (197 hp) 4-cylinder gasoline piston engines
  • Propellers:  3 vectored thrust Hoffmann 2.7 m three-bladed; 1 lateral thrust Hoffmann 2.2 m three-bladed
  • Fuel capacity: 306 gal. (5 tanks), right 49 gal. (48 gal. usable), left 44 gal. (43 gal. usable), reserve 49 gal. (48 gal. usable), 2 external auxiliary 82 gal. each (80 gal. usable).
  • Maximum speed: 125 km/h (78 mph)
  • Endurance: 24 hours
  • Static Lift: 2,940 pounds
  • Maximum Dynamic Lift: 1,102 pounds (500 kg)
  • Maximum static heaviness, take-off/landing: 400 kg
  • Maximum static heaviness, inflight: 500 kg
  • Maximum static lightness : -200 kg
  • Payload: 2,350 kg (5,181 lbs)
  • Max. flight altitude: 10,000′ (3,048 m)

       Source: European Aviation Safety Agency Type Certificate EASA.AS.001 and ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik

The New Goodyear Airship

In 2011 Goodyear announced that it would be replacing its fleet of advertising blimps with Zeppelin NT airships and the first new Goodyear zeppelin flew in 2014.

The Goodyear ship is a slightly modified variant known as LZ  N07-101.

The new Goodyear airship. (photo: Goodyear)

The new Goodyear airship. (photo: Goodyear)

42 Comments on "Zeppelin NT"

  1. i would fuel my design rigid airship entirely with hho! the system would power ducted props(contra-rotating),generators to power pumps and cooking,shower,etc.! an archimedes type screw pump (electric) would power the water ballast and return lines to the water(fuel!) tanks! i have already successfully run my lawn mower on water only with the use of valves instead of carburetors! ([email protected])

  2. Ricardo Gabriel | May 17, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Reply

    i have a question:
    Could a zeppelin fly over a large scale fire?

    Could it lift a large tank filmes with water?

    I think a zeppelin would be the ultimate fire combat aircraft but maybe it cant be done?

  3. Mark David Campbell | October 9, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Reply

    I’m currently writing a science fiction where fossile fuels are spent and all travel and transport in the future is done by zeppelin (solar or hydrogen powered thrusters)
    Keeping in mind this is a science fiction, what would the difference in lift be between a helium filled envelope and a hydrogen filled envelope (I know hydrogen is explosive)?

  4. Michael Bennett | June 10, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Reply

    I’m interested in purchasing one is it possible???? and where

  5. Would like to take my wife for a ride on an airship for her Birthday, do you offer rides to the public

  6. If the structure only weighs 2,200 pounds – the same weight as a mid-late 1990s GT1 class FIA GT car – how much does the airship weigh with everything else added?

  7. With the new technology of the present and helium lifting gas it would seem possible to replace the wonderful flying Hotels of the past; the Graf, Hindenburg and Graf Two for luxury travel in the utmost in comfort with private staterooms, gourmet dining and live entertainment. Not as fast as being strapped into a cramped chair and catapulted across the ocean but with much more comfort and enjoyment.

    • False dichotomy. For the same price of a Graf Zeppelin or Hindenburg ticket (about 12,000$ a ticket in today terms) you can buy yourself a very comfortable first class ticket on a regular Jet airliner, in which you’ll get the best service and beds.

      Economy class tickets opened up air travel for the masses. Zeppelin airtravel was very expensive. Cramped chairs are just a part of only willing to pay 1000$ for a ticket.

      You get what you pay for.

  8. Brenda Du Charme | November 23, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Reply

    My fater-in-law is a WWII vet who flew in blimps. He is turning 90 next week and told us he would love to ride in a blimp again. Is there a way I can make this happen?

    Thank you, Brenda Du Charme

  9. I’ve always dreamed of owning one airship as I live in a mountainous area. Anyone knows how much it can cost and operating cost (example, how much fuel consumption to travel 100 km, maintenance cost)?? Please kindly share if you know. I’m not an engineer just an enthusiast and entrepreneur. I am from Myanmar.

  10. كل مفى المنطاد قابل تغيروتحويل وتطوير واستعمل فى غير اسياحة مثلا فى نقل غير البشر ادا كانت تهموكم الفكر استفسار عنها

  11. I went on an NT flight in Friedrichshafen in 2006. Sitting on the bench seat at the back of the gondola and being able to see the shadow of the Zeppelin on the ground below and being able to open the window was unreal. When we reached the end of the Bodensee (Lake Constance), the NT turned like a top, due the pilot told me, because of the propeller at the end of the ship, which makes for fantastic manoeuvrability. It was an amazing experience. A boyhood dream come true.

  12. Think you should add to the list all the new airships, the now and the future of airships, like the onemaned ones up to the NT Zeppelins, maybe the nuts with the lawn chair and a bunch of balloons…. Rick

  13. can any please, clearly give me an idea where can be the Gondola is placed, I mean at what position from the CG location & also How the surface area of fins calculated along with Rudder and elevator too.

  14. Just read that the Airship is closing down, what will happen to the airship ???

    • I take it you’re referring to Airship Ventures out of California, right? Sadly, a lack of sponsorship funding forced them to close down, and I believe the airship was disassembled and returned to Germany.

  15. Hey there Dan, this is a really great website. The Zeppelin NT actually has 2 engines that can vector 120 degrees up (the side engines) and the aft engine vectors down 90 degrees. Great website, been coming to this site for a long time to check out airship history!

    – Dave

  16. Would it be possible to build an airship(lighter than air) that could transport 100 people at a time go up to 200 mph and go up to 20,000 ft in altitude by changing the airships’ shape, using light weight materials (carbon, aluminum,titanium), providing wings, small jet engines, and computerized guidance systems?

    • It takes 300,000 cubic feet of helium to carry 10 people. To carry 100, you would need a ship so massive it would be an engineering feat to keep it together in one piece. Seriously doubt it could go 200mph. 20,000 feet might be possible but you would need pressurized cabin (i.e. even more weight).

    • RS, carrying 100 people would be no problem, as there were airships built in the 1930’s that could carry that load halfway around the world. You wouldn’t have to change the shape to go fast, (1930’s airships could go faster than 80 mph) but you would need more power and a stronger structure than was available in the 1930’s. With the new materials, twice the strength for half the weight is possible. In addition, engines are more fuel efficient and lighter. So while I’m not sure you could get to 200, you could go faster than 80 mph. 20,000 feet is tough. you would have to (probably) trade range for altitude capability. Really, no one knows until someone does it. Good Luck.

    • Actually it was done many years ago by the USS Akron (ZRS-4) which carried over 200 persons aloft setting a (then) world’s record not soon to be matched. The Akron however did not go 200 mph, just about 75. High altitudes in airships are tricky. As you rise, the air pressure decreases and the gas cells expand outwards. To compensate, you only fill your gas cells half way anticipating a high flight and more altitude. Problem was then that you cut your effective lift in half as well. That’s why the Hindenburg rarely flew over 5000 feet and generally as a rule, kept below 1000 feet when cruising.

    • That’s an excellent question, and an a since de-classified US document from the 1960s hints that this is possible.

      I think hybrid, heavier-than air airships hold greater promise, and are much more feasible.

      As an example, take the Zeppelin NT. Take a look at the picture of the Zeppelin NT on the ground on this site. It is at an airport with lots of space around it. A hybrid airship could use a runway of a small airport, and take off at a steep 45 degree angle, it does not have to be VTOL – STOL will do. Actually STOL aircraft maybe easier to land, and handle cross winds.

      If you look at the fuselage of a 747 or a larger cargo aircraft, you will see that the volume of the fuselage would be able to contain sufficient helium to generate the required lift. And these fuselages travel at 400kt through the air.

      If you can allow for around 40 kt take-off speed, and a strong enough structure to carry jet engines, this might just work. This is the personal (paper) project I am working on at the moment, but I am beginning to think it could be done.

      I would advise you to do a feasibility study for yourself and see.

  17. Hey I just suddenly got re-interested in airships about two hours ago (after several years of not-so-intensive admiration for airships) and I have this question I havent been able to answer by myself or using the internet. I am familiar with the fact, that modern airships use helium or hot air just to make them super-light while engines do the rest of the job. So here comes the question: Are there any modern airships, that would use engine(s) powered by solar panels attached to the semi-rigid construction. And would it even be possible to generate enough electricity on an airship comparable in size and wight to the Zeppelin NT?

    • Hendrick Stoops | December 4, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Reply

      It’s a neat concept, but you’d need all rigid framework to hold them up, the only other problem is possibly weight (I don’t know how much they weigh so it might not be a problem) but that could be very ecenomic with something in the style of the old WW1 height climbers, which could fly above large cloud cover. Not really ascociated, but a picture of the R101 looks like it has solar panels on top! (of course just the style of outer covering but still, maybe a premonition:))…

      • Hello people,
        I just discovered your blog and especially this thread and message. Actually this idea is not new : papers can be found on this subject back in the 80’s. Very few RC-solar powered blimps (1 or 2 as far as I know) have been flying since the early 90’s, and the first manned, solar-powered blimp has flown next to Paris, France in 2009 and 2010, operated by students team Projet Sol’R.
        Since then we are making a few improvements in the structures of the airship, but hopefully our blimp will fly again this year !
        I’m sorry to contradict you Hendrick, but we are all inflatable, no rigid structure at all : the inner pressure is sufficient to hold the panels on the envelope. Moreover we have flexible cells -however that can be discussed, mainly for reasons of efficiency.
        That comes with many interesting challenges our project is here to take up !
        I’d be very glad to tell more on this system, I cannot doubt many of you would be interested and could have interesting ideas to bring !

      • they now have a water based paint that can do just that collect solar in all shades of light you can paint a roof with it attach wires and voila energy.
        professor at university of melbourne

        • Absolutely true! As an architect I have begun to use this in some work as well as the window tint film that provides W per sq. Meter. Just last year solar cells finally reached the dollar a watt price which was unheard of prior and with these new surface paints and films, it is even less. I see no reason this couldn’t be adapted to a coating for a LTV, however it is out of my field.

    • It would be necessary to have extremely light weight solar panels to drive the motors. It would be also make the airship prohibitively expensive.

  18. Is the graphic something that was used for promotional purposes only, or is this zeppelin owned by Disney?

  19. daniel baldwin | January 23, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Reply

    How is the NT14 coming along?? (19 passenger) Is this project still a go??

  20. Harold E Stewart | April 11, 2010 at 8:29 am | Reply

    I have long been interested in Lighter than air vehicles. Though this is actually a heavier than air craft it is winderful to see them back in the air and carrying passengers. Well Done!!

    • I don’t understand your comment about this being a heavier-than-air craft. It’s not. It’s a semi-rigid airship filled with helium, which provides the lift.

      • The Helium provides “only” 95% of the Lift. About 5% have to be given by arodynamical force. This fact makes sure, that the Zeppelin returns back.

        • The Zeppelin NT is clearly a LTA aircraft. It is true that at take-off it has a positive weight (of usually some few hundread kilogramms). But with a fuel capacity of about 1100 liters (2500 with range extender) it becomes lighter during flight as fuel is consumed. In addition the temperature of the environment and lifting gas can change during flight (think of adiabatic effects during altitude changes!) making the ship heavier or lighter.
          So, the 95/5 % lift-ratio is just a typical take-off condition and shifts during flight.

  21. Luis M. Moreno | March 4, 2010 at 7:09 am | Reply

    A very, very interesting Blog.


  22. Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

    ich bin aus der Republik Armenien. Ich habe an der Agraruniversität der Republik Armenien studiert und vom 2. April bis 31. Dezember 2008 habe ich Zeppelin Service Engineer qualification programme erfolgreich abgeschlossen. Ich beherrsche die Deutsche Sprache und träume von einer kurzfristigen Arbeit in Deutschland, was für meine Fortbildung sehr nützlich wäre. Wenn es möglich ist, könnten Sie mir bitte schreiben, ob ich bei Ihnen arbeiten darf.

    Mit freundlichen Grüßen
    Gagik Nahapetyan (27 Jahre alt)

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