June 27, 2012 - Future test pilots from the U.S.
Air Force and other countries tested their
lighter-than-air flying skills in a Zeppelin
airship during an airship flight evaluation for
the Air Force Test Pilot’s School (AFTPS) in
Long Beach, Calif. on Tuesday, May 29.
The AFTPS encourages students to fly as many
different aircraft as possible – jets, small
planes, helicopters, and in this case, a
fly-by-wire, Vertical Take Off and Landing
(VTOL) airship, the Zeppelin NT-07 Eureka.
“This was an amazing opportunity for our
students,” noted Mary E. (Lyn) McNeely,
instructor flight test engineer at the U.S. Air
Force Test Pilot School. “The airship provides a
unique type of aviation, something you can’t
learn in a classroom and our students looked
forward to this all year.”
During the one-day Zeppelin training school,
select U.S. Air Force pilots learn the theory
and technique behind flying a 246-foot-long
Zeppelin in ground school, and then put it into
practice during a flight over the Pacific Ocean.
Each student flies the airship at a variety of
speeds and practices hovering using the
airship’s vectored thrust engines.
“Through relationships with military and defense
organizations like the U.S. Air Force, Airship
Ventures continues to advance its special
missions capabilities,” said Francis Govers,
Airship Ventures’ special missions manager. “Our
Zeppelin is a unique resource, which has been
finding increased utility not only as a training
platform, but also in the evaluation of new
sensors and systems that may go on other manned
or unmanned aircraft.”