In the Cockpit: Landing a Zepplin NT

  • Sep 4, 2014 8:37am GMT

Blimps are out, Zepplins are in. The iconic sight of a large airship flying overhead has been around longer than the airplane. But the new generation of airship really sets the bar high.

The Zepplin NT is the newest wave of airship in size, contstruction, and control. It is composed of a semi-rigid airframe inside a pressurized gas envelope. The internal frame provides mounting points for the side and tail mounted engines as well as the three large control fins. As Tyson showed you earlier, the Goodyear Tire Company in in the process of updating their fleet of non-rigid airships with these newer, larger modern airships.

A few years ago the new defunct company Airship Ventures let me ride along in their Zepplin NT when it visited the Chicago area. The pilot has a joystick providing fly-by-wire flight controls. The controls for the three engines (one on each side and one in the tail) are made up of four groups: Red -- Mixture, Blue -- RPM, Black -- Thrust, and Yellow -- Prop Swivel. The side engine propellers can rotate from forward for cruise flight to 120 degrees back for landing/take off or hovering. The tail engine drives two propellers. One is side-facing for yaw control and the other is a rear facing prop that can swivel down 90 degrees to assist in pitch control.

Watch the pilot constantly adjust the engine thrust and motor angle to place the massive airship in exactly the right spot every time. And for you traditional blimp fans, notice the lack of ground crew needed to assist in the landing process.

You can learn more about the newest Zepplin NT on Goodyear's website.