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Airship Ventures Provides Zeppelin Airship Pilot School For The U.S. Air Force
By Jim Douglas

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.”



Airship Ventures also offers a similar school to members of the public who are current private or commercial pilots. The pilot experience for civilians is a two-day course which includes learning about an airship flight from Zeppelin pilots, stick time in the cockpit, and a behind-the-scenes look at Airship Ventures and airship operations. Founded in 2007 in California, Airship Ventures, Inc., operates the only commercial passenger airship in the United States, Eureka, the world’s largest passenger airship.

The Zeppelin’s spacious cabin comfortably accommodates one pilot, one flight attendant, and 12 passengers, with luxury features including oversized panoramic windows, an onboard restroom with window, and a 180-degree rear observation window and “love seat” that wraps the entire aft of the cabin. Using the inert gas helium for lift, and vectored thrust engines for flight, Zeppelin NTs have been flying with an unparalleled safety record since 1997.

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