"Oh, the humanity." When these three words were uttered by aghast radio journalist Herbert Morrison -- as the LZ129 Hindenburg airship crashed and burst into flames in New Jersey in 1937 -- it was seen as the end of airships. The other remaining Zeppelin-class dirigible, the Graf Zeppelin II, was destroyed by the Nazi administration who felt the materials could be put to better use with more conventional aircraft.
But, 70 years on, could the Hindenburg-style airship be experiencing a renaissance?
There are two types of craft that are commonly called "airships." The first is basically a balloon filled with a lighter-than-air gas, with an attached pod for the pilot and passengers, and tilting propellers to aid with descent and maneuvering. These are known as 'blimps' and are commonly used for promotional activities, for filming sporting events and by law enforcement agencies for surveillance. But their limited payload make them unsuitable for other purposes. Read full article »