What is the Zeppelin NT?
The Zeppelin NT is a semi-rigid airship that is almost 250 feet (76.2 meters) long and can remain airborne because it is filled with helium, which is lighter than normal air. The company who makes the Zeppelin NT is considered a successor to the earlier group of Zeppelin companies that made the blimp.
The new technology developed by the company lists the airship as semi-rigid. The framework built with aluminum and lightweight carbon fiber. This framework also carries the cabin, engines, and a tail assembly that is vital for maneuvering the airship. The high-tech nature of its framework construction leads to its weight being limited to just a ton (roughly 1,000 kilograms) even though its length rivals the length of a Boeing 747 airliner.
The helium gas, over 10,400 cubic yards (roughly 8000 cubic meters) of it, is contained in an envelope that is made of very strong and high strength multi-layer laminates. The engines on the Zeppelin NT are four cylinder gasoline powered engines. Zeppelin company has preferred to use engines that have proved their reliability by decades of use in the aircraft industry, especially by smaller planes. The airship has four propellers, three of which can swivel up to 120 degrees, greatly adding to the airship's maneuverability.
The airship does not require runways and can take of in a vertical fashion and can even be maneuvered to go backwards. Speed is generally limited to about 37 mph (60 kph) although it can achieve speeds upwards to 78 mph (125 kph). This is because the airships main use at present is in sightseeing and generally used by tourists and not passengers seeking to travel long distances quickly. Currently the airship only seats 12 persons besides the crew but a larger version is planned, which will allow almost 20 passengers at a time.