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August 30, 2014

We’re Getting a Blimp, People!

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We’re getting a blimp! We’re getting a blimp!

Excuse me. I mean, (I clear my throat, smooth my hair, and speak in my very serious radio announcer voice)…

Dateline: Orlando, Florida. FL-Skyship Services Inc., the Type Certificate holders and operators of the Skyship 600 series airships, is planning an extended trip this summer that will take them to the far North – and be the first airship to visit Alaska since the 1920’s.

They call it an “airship,” but we know what that really means. The Alask0-Blimp plans to be in Anchorage around July 4, 2013 and return to the Lower 48 in September.

The Skyship 600 is the largest certified “non-rigid airship” currently in operation. The thing is 200 feet long and carries up to 15 people at a time. It even has “thrust-vectoring engines” and, like a Harrier jump jet, it can take off and land vertically. Cruise speed is about 40 mph and it can cruise along for 18 hours at a time.

You may be asking yourself why Alaska needs a blimp. Well, the press release posited the same question, and answered itself.

“Why take an airship to Alaska? Because Alaska needs airships.”

Yeah, we want a blimp, because we need a blimp, dammit!  Blimp! Rides! Blimp! Rides! Blimp! Rides!

Wait… what?

The Skyship can take part in aerial surveys, maritime patrols, wildlife observation, and environmental monitoring.

Airships are outstanding platforms for aerial surveys due to their slow speed and low altitude. There is little vibration in the gondola, and the flight is smooth and controlled. Surveys flown from airships have been shown to offer higher resolution and higher accuracy than aircraft or helicopters. Airships do not bank (or roll) in turns, keeping their sensors pointed at the ground all the time. Viewers have seen the stability and consistency of aerial coverage of sporting events from airships – there is a reason why TV producers like airships.

No blimp rides?

“Alaska’s limited road system in turn limits the ability to efficiently survey our resource rich lands,” said Senator Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage) who is the Co-Chair of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission. “It makes perfect sense for Alaska to have an airship to open up access to opportunities in resource development that will help secure Alaska’s financial future.”

Resource development blimps?

Blimps like the Skyship 600 are excellent platforms for aerial prospecting for valuable minerals. Special instruments can be fitted that measure the earth’s gravity and magnetic field, and geologists can use these surveys to locate oil deposits, gold, diamonds or other resources. This is a science where the airship’s low speed, low vibration, and low altitude pay off in improved results for miners.

OK, The Mudflats is officially pouty and disappointed, and we humbly suggest to FL-Skyship Services that they’re missing the boat.  You don’t want to be out in the middle of nowhere in Alaska on a blimp when some crazy windstorm picks up. Or what if something happens and you need to land somewhere? Don’t you need a hangar for that thing? Are there blimp tie-downs for Arctic storm conditions? Heck, no.  Get that thing to the Fair, or Merrill Field, and start selling tickets!

Or at least while you’re up there, find a gold and copper deposit that doesn’t mess with the largest wild salmon fishery on the planet. Just a thought.

 

 

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17 Responses to “We’re Getting a Blimp, People!”
  1. LA Brian says:

    Don’t mean to burst your … OK, bad start …, but a hangar isn’t an absolute must for routine parking.

    One of the GoodYear blimps (yes, I still call them snowmobiles also, too) is stationed in a field south of Los Angeles.Most of the time it’s linked to a tethering pole.

    I’m sure that it’s caused more than a few accidents on the 405 as drivers watch it going through maneuvers.

  2. mike from iowa says:

    Maybe they’ll get a Carnival Cruise Line Blimp and get special dispensation to overflow the toilets on Parnell’s noggin. Just a suggestion.

    • mike from iowa says:

      BTW-CNN is reporting a fourth CCL ship is having problems.This one and the third one are having trouble with steering and cruise speed. Passengers are said to be highly P.O’D.

  3. AKblue says:

    Treacherous mountain passes, rapidly changing weather, high winds. Any bets as to how long the blimp lasts?
    I do miss the beautiful hot air balloons that we used to see on the east side of town….

  4. Zyxomma says:

    Many years ago, I was working at the law firm that helped with venture capital for a blimp company. When they needed overtime, I volunteered IF I could have a ride on one of the blimps. Well, I got the overtime pay but no ride. I try not to think about it, because if I did, I’d still be upset. One of these days …

  5. CityKid says:

    I wonder if our blimp is military surplus?

    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-81

  6. Ivan says:

    The Blimp, SS YON DUNG.
    Cantankerous wind bag full of hot air.

  7. Diane says:

    It’s Obama’s fault!

  8. GoI3ig says:

    I can see it now. Lesil will get liquored up and go for a ride while singing, “I’m on blimp Mother#*&*@.” (Sung to the tune of Andy Samberg’s “I’m on a boat.”

  9. mike from iowa says:

    Maybe some enterprising.patriotic Alaskans can resurrect the defunct Vietnam era CIA “Phoenix Project”, borrow some rwnj pols ,fly them out over Bristol Bay and de-blimp them sans parachutes. Worked way back when to rid America of former collaborators and suspected Viet Cong. If only the South China Sea could talk.

  10. slipstream says:

    What do you mean Alaska is “getting” a blimp?

    I have been here for years!

  11. AKMagpie says:

    Golly gosh! And here I thought we had drones and Google surveillance for that sorta stuff. My bad.

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  1. [...] this year, I reported that a blimp was coming to Alaska this July for the first time since the 1920s. And not just any blimp – we’re talking [...]



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