|Type:||Semi-rigid airship for tourism, advertising & research purposes|
September 18, 1997
August 15, 2001
|Number of pieces:|
Zeppelin NT ( Zeppelin Neue Technologie) is an airship series that has been manufactured in Friedrichshafen since the 1990s and has been primarily used for tourism, research and monitoring purposes since the 2000s. The airships of the NT type belong to the largest active airships after the Airlander airship and, as semi-rigid airships, are the only ones with a rigid internal structure.
Airships of this type are constructed by Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co. KG (ZLT), which is part of the Zeppelin Group and continues the tradition of the companies founded under the name of Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin . The historic Zeppelin company designed, built and operated the world-famous Zeppelin rigid airships as early as the first third of the 20th century .
History of origin
The era of the historic zeppelins ended in 1940 after the last two rigid airships LZ 127 "Graf Zeppelin" and LZ 130 "Graf Zeppelin II" were scrapped on Hermann Göring's orders and the last remaining airship hangars at Frankfurt Airport were blown up.
Over the years, there have been repeated suggestions within the Zeppelin Group to resume the design and production of airships. For example, a new type of airship called the LZ 132 was proposed as early as the 1950s , which should have been used to transport loads . However, the concepts never got beyond initial considerations until the late 1980s.
It was not until 1989 that more detailed studies were made, which were supposed to show the feasibility of a new zeppelin. One of the driving forces behind the project was the then Friedrichshafen mayor Bernd Wiedmann , who, by virtue of his office, was also the chairman of the supervisory board of ZF Friedrichshafen . In addition, the entrepreneur Max Mugler (1931–2013), who at that time was the managing director of the still existing Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH founded in 1908 by Count Ferdinand, also campaigned for the preparation of the studies . At the end of the following year, a market study showed a sales potential of up to 80 zeppelins at that time. However, the author of this market study, Franz Neubauer, also emphasized that it was imperative to shorten the planned development period. In addition, larger types of airship would have to be developed for economic reasons, in particular in order to be able to compete with the much cheaper airships of the American Blimp Corporation . Also in 1993, a patent for a "semi-rigid airship with a pressure-supported hull" was registered. In September 1993 the Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co. KG (ZLT) was founded, which should take over the development, the construction and the construction of the airships. Here, too, Max Mugler was entrusted with the management, while the engineer Klaus Hagenlocher was appointed for the technical management. Neither person had any experience with the development and operation of airships until then. The main shareholders were and are until today the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH and the ZF Friedrichshafen AG . The initial studies, the founding of the company and the construction of a necessary airship hangar were initially financed with 60 million DM .
Development phase and test flight operations
Even before Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik was founded, and thus well before construction began, the company received criticism from specialist circles. In April 1993, the chief designer of the WDL Luftschiffgesellschaft , Richard Gründer, wrote to the Förderverein Zeppelintourismus e. V., who forwarded the letter to the management of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik. Above all, the planned technical procedure was criticized by the author of the letter, since the planned first version of the Zeppelin NT was too short with 65 m. With 7250 m³ of lifting gas, it would have too little volume for the planned load-bearing capacity.
Construction of the first prototype began in 1995. At that time, the technical development was already behind the original project plans. In particular, a lack of technical skills was discovered within the company. In July 1996, Wolfgang von Zeppelin was therefore recruited as technical director, a distant relative of Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin , who until then had mainly been active in the Zeppelin tourism association. Nevertheless, the technical development continued to be delayed, and Max Mugler openly admitted that his decision to appoint Wolfgang von Zeppelin at the time was the wrong choice.
It was not until the end of 1996, a few months before the planned first flight, that the company Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik discovered that the static lift of the airship had been incorrectly calculated. This was described by the press as a terrific calculation error . The original criticism of the WDL Luftschiffgesellschaft thus turned out to be true. The company has now increased the length of the airship to 75 m and its volume to 8250 m³.
At the Aero aviation fair in April 1997, the Zeppelin NT was presented to the public for the first time in an assembled state in Hall 10. At this point in time, Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik was already announcing the first sales successes for its airship. The first series airship, the sales price of which was stated in the press at 11.5 million DM or 12.5 million DM, was to be sold to the newly founded Swiss Skyship Cruise Ltd. as early as 1998 . sold. At the end of April 1997, Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik announced that preliminary contracts had already been concluded with four customers for the purchase of five airships and that 15 more serious purchase inquiries had been made. The first filling followed in August 1997, followed by the first outdoor and ground tests.
As early as the summer of 1997, the Federal Aviation Office had granted the Zeppelin-NT a provisional flight permit. From August 8, the prototype was then on the mobile airship mast in a parking lot at the Friedrichshafen exhibition center . The maiden flight of the prototype then found but instead only on 18 September 1997th The captain on this first flight was the American Scott Danneker, who was only accompanied by co-pilot Stefan Unzicker and avionics engineer Jürgen Fecher. The ground crew on this test flight comprised eight people. While the start was originally supposed to start at 5 p.m., the test team decided not to start until 7 p.m. in order to wait for more favorable thermal conditions and also for the helium gas to cool down. Due to the restrictions of the preliminary flight permit by the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt, the Zeppelin-NT was only allowed to climb to an altitude of 1000 feet (330 meters) at a maximum speed of 80 km / h during the 45-minute flight. The flight was carried out not only as a test flight, but also as a transfer flight. During the flight, the prototype was transferred from its previous location on the exhibition grounds to the airship hangar two kilometers away. Technically, the test flight went without complications. According to the police, 30,000 spectators watched the take-off and landing of the aircraft on the northern Friedrichshafen exhibition grounds, including Lord Mayor Bernd Wiedmann and survivors of the Hindenburg disaster of 1937, such as machinist Eugen Bentele.
After the first flight, the following months were devoted to further tests of the prototype. At the end of March 1998, the company announced in a press release that the first test phase had been successfully completed and that the prototype had completed around 100 hours of flight tests and load maneuvers in the air and on the ground. It was also announced that construction of the first series airship, which was to be sold in Switzerland, would begin in May 1998. An article published in the NZZ at the beginning of April 1998 showed that the technical progress had been far less positive than this PR release suggested . In this extremely critical examination of the company and the airship project, the aviation journalist fundamentally questioned the timeframe of the airship project's development. After the first flight, according to research by the journalist, technical-electronic problems with the fly-by-wire flight control arose as early as late autumn 1997 , so that testing of the airship had to be suspended for weeks. Although January 1998 would have offered ideal weather for the flight tests, no test flights took place even during that month.
They were not resumed until the beginning of February 1998. In addition, the journalist showed in his article that Zeppelin did not disclose in the press release how many of the 100 test hours were actual flight hours. When asked, even the company's press spokesman could not have quantified how many operational flight hours had actually been performed. According to the company spokesman, the approval of the airship is not expected before August 1999. On the basis of this research, the aviation journalist drew the conclusion that the Zeppelin NT prototype had probably only flown around five percent of the 600 flight hours required for approval so that LBA approval was not expected before the year 2000. According to the aviation journalist's calculations, not only the development costs, but also the planned trial period will double. The article also showed that the reasons for these overruns were that the technical competence within the company was not strong enough due to the lack of experience of the young team and two managing directors who were not familiar with airship development. At the time of the research, fundamentally important technical fields such as customer service and repair (“Product Support”), logistics and the maintenance of the airship were not sufficiently addressed.
The fact that the aviation journalist of the NZZ was right with his fundamental criticism of the project was shown by an article published just a few weeks later, in early May 1998, in the news magazine Der Spiegel . Surprisingly, this article reported on an event that had already happened more than six months ago: On October 8, 1997, during the fourth test flight, the prototype of the Zeppelin NT narrowly escaped an accident and test pilot Dominique Manière had to make an emergency landing . In the afternoon the airship set out for the test flight and, in addition to the pilot, had a technician and chief designer Hagenlocher on board. After a 30-minute flight over Immenstaad on Lake Constance , the first technical problems suddenly appeared. The bow of the ship leaned forward, which severely restricted maneuverability . Even with the stern propeller, the airship could no longer be kept stable in the air, as the engines were only idling. During this time, the airship dropped from an altitude of 300 to just 150 meters. Only after the test pilot had drained 400 liters of ballast water over Lake Constance and the side propellers had been brought into vertical position and the chief designer Hagenlocher had also thrown five 20-liter water canisters overboard, the threatening situation could be brought under control and the airship was able to Return airport. After around two hours of flight time, around 4 p.m. and five kilometers from Friedrichshafen Airport, the right elevator stopped because the elevator's control motor failed. The test pilot then prepared the ground crew for an emergency landing. Shortly before the airport runway, the hydraulics of the right propeller also failed, so that it got stuck in a vertical position. The more experienced airship captain and co-pilot on this flight, Dominique Manière, then took control of Scott Danneker. He managed to dock on the mobile airship mast with just one functional propeller. The two test pilots later analyzed this incident and were extremely grateful to have taken the five additional water canisters on board, although the chief designer Hagenlocher wanted to do without them shortly before the start of the flight. Only with this additional ballast, which was dropped after the abrupt sagging of the airship over Lake Constance near Immenstaad, could the accident be prevented.
After this incident, the design of the Zeppelin NT was fundamentally revised over a period of weeks. In particular, the inner struts and beams of the semi-rigid airship had to be reinforced. The hydraulic systems were also designed to be more powerful and the ballonets enlarged. This near-miss incident has caused some concern in the industry. On the other hand, a lot of malice and malicious glee spread among some companies, as was shown retrospectively on the basis of internal documents of the CargoLifter company .
In mid-1998, the company tried to convey in external communication that the technical problems had not resulted in long delays in the project. The type certificate was originally supposed to be available in 1998, but it has now been announced that this would be targeted for the second half of 1999. Within the organization, however, the previous approach was fundamentally questioned. In the second half of the year, the management consultancy McKinsey & Company was commissioned to thoroughly examine the time and cost planning, the technical procedure and the market opportunities of the project.
At the beginning of 1999 only 150 of the necessary 600 flight test hours had been completed, so it was announced that the certification would probably only take place towards the end of 2000. The project costs had meanwhile also risen by 15 million to 50 million DM, and the managing director of the ZLT, Max Mugler, openly admitted that the company and the decision-makers had "absolutely miscalculated". To make matters worse, the Zeppelin NT was damaged in mid-February 1999 when it was evacuated from the airship hangar. In black ice, the NT should be pulled out of the hall when it was caught by a gust of wind and the stopping vehicle slipped away. This delayed the schedule of the development project due to necessary repairs by a further two months. At the beginning of 1999 the company began to look for a new management team, which, in contrast to the previous one, should have extensive experience in the aviation industry. On April 1, aeronautical engineer Dr. Bernd Sträter, who previously held management positions in the aviation industry at Dornier , DASA and Daimler-Benz Aerospace , will take on as the new Managing Director of the ZLT. Sträter should then be responsible in particular for the upcoming implementation of measures to accelerate the type certification and thus systematically continue the development process. In addition to Sträter, who was to concentrate on the technical management, another new managing director, Günter Schwenk, was appointed, who was to take care of the commercial aspect in particular. The previous chairman of the management, Max Mugler, switched to a newly created advisory board of the company when Bernd Sträter took office . Klaus Hagenlocher remained managing director. Wolfgang von Zeppelin was released from his offices.
At the Aero trade fair in Friedrichshafen in mid-April 1999, the prototype of the Zeppelin NT was not yet fit to fly again after the accident when it was suspended. When flight operations were resumed in the middle of the year, however, the test flights and testing measures made good progress on the way to series approval. At the end of June 1999, the prototype had already completed 230 total flight hours, 180 of which were purely for testing purposes. At this point, only 80 more test hours were missing before the test flights would begin together with the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt , which were scheduled to last 400 hours. From a technical point of view, the test flights dealt with the failure of systems during the flight. In other words, the Zeppelin was operated in the air without the engines running. In August 1999, the first test flights were carried out for the suitability of the airship for passenger transport. On test flights, even remote landing sites from the airport, such as Salem Castle , were approached as external landings. It was also shown that the Zeppelin NT can take off and land without a ground crew. At this point in time, 300 flight hours had already been achieved. In addition, so-called “ anchor mast weeks” took place, during which the prototype was attached to the mobile airship mast all day and for over a week. The sensor technology developed by ZLT, with which the ballast management system and the pressure equalization of the airship is carried out automatically in changing weather conditions, could be examined for their suitability for the first time.
At the beginning of October 1999 the prototype of the Zeppelin NT carried out its longest flight to date. Started at 9:30 a.m., the airship first flew over the Upper Rhine, dropped a mailbag with 3,000 postcards shortly after the Swiss border, turned over the Swiss capital Bern and after 680 kilometers flown back in Friedrichshafen at 6:00 p.m. The airmail carried in the form of postcards was equipped with a picture of the historic Zeppelin airship LZ 126 , which was the first airship to cross the Atlantic in October 1924 . In mid-November 1999 the prototype had already completed 400 flight hours on 124 flights.
During the winter season 1999/2000, the prototype of the Zeppelin NT suspended test flight operations for several weeks because an intensive annual inspection was due and wear parts were inspected. It was announced in the spring of 2000 that the rear-wheel drive had received technical modifications and the ease of maintenance of the drive units had been improved. At the turn of the year, the assembly of the support structure of the second airship to be built was completed, which at the time was still for the customer Skyship Cruise Ltd. was intended. The hull for the second airship with the serial number “S / N 02” was also filled for the first time in the hangar in February 2000 and checked for leaks. After the prototype had resumed flight operations, 500 flight hours had been completed in mid-2000.
From June 30th to July 8th, 2000, the long-prepared "Zeppelin Jubilee Week" took place in Friedrichshafen, which was attended by a wide audience and celebrated the centenary of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin's first ascent with his Zeppelin 1 airship . The prototype of the Zeppelin NT was also extensively involved in the celebrations. On July 2, 2000 at 2 p.m., the first prototype was christened "D-LZFN Friedrichshafen" in the airship hangar by Elisabeth Veil, the then 80-year-old granddaughter of Count Zeppelin . In the late afternoon, an airship parade took place over Lake Constance, in which, in addition to the Zeppelin NT, the SkyShip 600 from Cargolifter AG and two other blimps from The Lightship Group took part.
Shortly after the Zeppelin anniversary week, the Zeppelin NT started on a test flight tour of several weeks to northern and eastern Germany. From July 13 to August 1, 2000, the prototype covered a further 3600 kilometers in a further 75 hours of flight. In addition to the Bonn-Hangelar airport, the Nürburgring and the grounds of the Expo 2000 in Hanover were overflown. A key destination during this test flight tour was Nordholz near Cuxhaven, where the airship was tested under special wind and air pressure conditions. In particular, take-offs and landings as well as maneuverability in strong winds of up to 25 knots were carried out here. The Zeppelin NT later flew over Berlin and Magdeburg, where the noise emissions of the airship were tested. At the end of this test flight tour, the prototype had completed around 630 hours of flight.
Towards the end of 2000, in August, the technical "founding father" of the Zeppelin NT, Klaus Hagenlocher, who had been associated with the project since its inception in 1989, retired. Although the technical development made good progress and the approval was about to be completed, the ZLT had to issue economically unpleasant news in autumn 2000. In October it was announced that none of the five previous pre-contract customers who had expressed an interest in purchasing an NT could submit a secure financing concept for the purchase. The ZLT therefore decided to also act as its own Zeppelin operating company, for which the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei (DZR) was to be founded and then to start operating the first series airship from May 2001.
At the beginning of 2001 there was little news about the technical flight tests of the Zeppelin NT and other events related to the company. In February, then Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder paid a visit to the ZF Friedrichshafen company and also visited the ZLT. However, due to gusty weather and snowstorms, he was unable to experience a flight in the Zeppelin NT.
On April 26, 2001, the Zeppelin NT received type certification from the Federal Aviation Office after almost 1000 flight hours and 3600 flight kilometers as part of the "AERO 2001" air show in Friedrichshafen . At the same time, Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH was certified as an aviation manufacturing company . The development phase and test flight operations were then completed. Up to this point in time, the company had invested around DM 75 million in development, construction and building up the company. In order to be able to start with the passenger transport, the ZLT only lacked the recognition as an aviation company at that time . Although the sale of the flight tickets had not officially started at this time, more than 5,000 people interested in a flight were already registered on a waiting list.
A new Zeppelin NT made its maiden flight in March 2020. It is 75 meters long, has space for 16 passengers and is rear-wheel drive with a 200 hp engine and two propellers. Electric motors move the rudders on the tail unit according to the position of the control joystick by the pilot. The inner structure consists of carbon strands, the shell of three-layer laminate.
Milestones in flight operations and other events since commissioning
The first series airship (SN 02) was named D-LZZR “Bodensee” on August 10, 2001. The Zeppelin LZ 120 had this name as early as the 1920s . Passenger flight operations began on August 15, after the Federal Aviation Office had granted the German Zeppelin shipping company its operating license for official flight operations. The prototype of the Zeppelin NT, “Friedrichshafen”, continued to serve primarily for pilot training, use on special flights and as a “demonstration model”. Tourists were not transported with this because the "Friedrichshafen" is not approved for passenger flights.
As with the historic zeppelins, the Zeppelin NT carried out postal flights , the special stamps of which are popular with philatelists . For example, one such flight led to Lucerne on August 1, 2001 .
At the beginning of May 2002 an NT with passengers landed in Constance . For the first time in history, an airship landed in the birthplace of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin . At the end of August 2002, the 10,000 passenger was carried on board a Zeppelin NT.
On February 9, 2003, the second series airship, with the registration D-LZZF “Baden-Württemberg”, (SN 03) took off for its maiden flight. A few weeks earlier, the company had announced that construction would be halted once the construction of this third zeppelin was completed. Another, then a fourth, Zeppelin was only to be built on the order of an external customer. At this point in time, the ZLT had around 100 employees who were not initially affected by this production stop. Financing for another three years was secured with the ZF Group . The "Baden-Württemberg" is largely identical to the "Friedrichshafen" and "Bodensee". Instead of twelve, the passenger gondola can now accommodate a maximum of 13 passengers. Instead of the additional thirteenth seat, however, an on- board toilet can also be installed.
In May 2003, the Zeppelin NT received approval for night flights under visual flight control (NVFR), so that from then on, flights at sunset and night flights were also offered.
In May 2004 the D-LZFN “Friedrichshafen” started on a 10,000 kilometer long Eastern Europe advertising tour on behalf of a large German automobile company. It took 19 stages to Prague, among others, and then via southern European countries to Istanbul and returned to Friedrichshafen on a northern route via Odessa and Kiev at the end of July.
Also in July 2004, the D-LZFN “Friedrichshafen” was damaged by a windpipe on the landing gear. In the late afternoon, the airship flew over Lake Constance to Zurich, where it was supposed to dock with the mobile anchor mast in an open area near Lake Zurich . After the landing maneuver, strong winds with turbulence rose, which tore the airship's stern upwards several times and hit the ground several times. After the bad weather conditions had subsided and an initial inspection, the Zeppelin was flown back to the shipyard, whereupon the damaged landing gear had to be replaced in the next few days.
At the end of October 2004, the American billionaire and aviation pioneer Steve Fossett successfully passed the exam for the Zeppelin NT pilot license. In the weeks before that, Fossett's private plane had been seen several times at Friedrichshafen Airport. Since Fossett was well known for his spectacular records, these visits fueled speculation about what exactly he was planning to do with the Zeppelin NT. On October 27, 2004, Fossett set a new world speed record for airships with the ship SN01 “Friedrichshafen” . He drove a 1000 m test section in both directions at an average speed of 111.8 km / h. The record was later officially recognized by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) with 115 km / h. The previous record was set on January 19, 2000 by two Britons, Jim Dexter and Mike Kendrick, who flew 93 km / h with a Lightship A-60.
In the spring of 2005, ZLT announced that it would make a generation change in management. Günter Schwenk left the company in 2004. In the summer of 2005, Thomas Brandt was to be appointed as the new managing director, who until then was still managing director of the insolvent aircraft manufacturer Fairchild-Dornier . Bernd Sträter was supposed to train Mr. Brandt for a few more months before he also left the management on June 30th and retired, although he was at the ZLT's side as a consultant for a few years.
In June 2005 an NT was stationed at the air show in Le Bourget , where it also offered sightseeing flights. David Scott , astronaut and commander of Apollo 15 , which landed on the moon in 1971 , took part in one of these sightseeing flights . He then described his sightseeing flight with the zeppelin with the words: Just the walk on the moon was nicer .
In 2007 a Zeppelin NT was part of the art project Insel Mainau : Szczesny 2007: A dream of earthly paradise , in which the artist Stefan Szczesny redesigned the Bodensee island into an artistic synthesis of the arts. Part of the work of art was also a Zeppelin NT, which had been pasted with two female files according to Szczesny's specifications.
A Zeppelin NT was used in 2008 to celebrate the centenary of the Echterdingen disaster . During this historic event , Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin had to make an emergency landing on August 5, 1908 in Echterdingen near Stuttgart due to technical problems with his airship LZ 4 . A wave of helpfulness from thousands of onlookers created a high level of solidarity with the Count, which resulted in the zeppelin donation by the German people . In commemoration of this event, an NT flew over the accident site in Echterdingen on the last weekend in July. Also in 2008, in May, the extreme athlete Mike Küng jumped off a flying Zeppelin NT with a paraglider . Küng had already gained notoriety when he jumped inside the former airship hangar of Cargolifter AG .
In the summer of 2008, an NT was used for the first time over the English capital London for six weeks . It was the fourth airship produced (SN 04), which made a stop in England before it was transferred to America on a dock ship . Also in the summer of 2008, Katharine Board from England began training to become a zeppelin pilot, who after successfully passing her flight test became the first female zeppelin pilot in aviation history.
In March 2010, the Zeppelin NT completed a 24-hour journey for the first time. To date, the airship had a tank volume of 1,100 liters, which limited the range to just 900 kilometers. In order to extend the range and flight time, the Zeppelin NT was equipped with a so-called "Range Extender Kit". Two additional tanks, each with an additional 700 l of fuel, are installed inside the airship pod. The first test with this additional tank system led back to Friedrichshafen via Munich, Nuremberg and Frankfurt. 1450 kilometers were covered within 24 hours and 40 minutes. On the basis of this new tank system, missions can even be carried out in the future, which can last up to 35 hours.
Use and whereabouts of the built airships
Sale of the “Bodensee” to Japan and return to Friedrichshafen
On March 2, 2004, a Zeppelin NT was sold for the first time. The buyer was the Japanese company Nippon Airship Corporation , a subsidiary of the shipping company Nippon Yusen Kaisha . The Nippon Airship Corporation, at the time of purchase over 20 employees and had previously in Japan especially blimps type SkyShip 600 used. After the sale, the training of future pilots began after Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei was the first company in the world to receive approval as an airship flight school. The training of the first three Japanese mechanics and three airship pilots was completed in early March 2004. The pilots had completed 77 flight hours and 140 take-offs and landings. Their skills and knowledge were then tested both by representatives of the Japanese licensing authority and by the German Federal Aviation Authority. SN 02 D-LZZR "Bodensee" was handed over to the buyer on April 12, 2004. More than 300 guests were present. The ship's name was changed from “Bodensee” to JA101Z “Yokoso! Japan "changed, where Yokoso can be translated as" hospitality ". The sales price for the used airship was initially not disclosed to the public, later a purchase price of almost seven million euros was mentioned in the press, whereby the cost of the transfer had to be borne by the buyer.
The original plan was to carry out the 15,000-kilometer transfer from Friedrichshafen to Japan by air. The Zeppelin NT was initially supposed to advertise the world exhibition taking place in Japan in 2005 via various European cities and return to Friedrichshafen for final maintenance work at the end of June. The NT was then to follow the world travel route that the airship LZ 127 “Graf Zeppelin” had already taken in 1929 during its circumnavigation of the world. Originally 45 stopovers were planned on the way to Japan, whereby the Zeppelin NT was supposed to land near Tokyo on August 19th - exactly 75 years to the day after the airship LZ 127 “Graf Zeppelin” landed there in 1929 in front of a hundred thousand Japanese.
The NT finally started on July 4, 2004 after a two-day delay due to bad weather for transfer to Japan. By the end of July, however, the schedule had become completely obsolete, as the airship would have long since had to fly over Moscow , but at that time remained on the ground in Helsinki for a long time due to the lack of overflight rights for Russia . The airship received an overflight permit after waiting almost five weeks in Northern Europe. However, the onset of the Siberian winter was imminent, which appeared to the Japanese owners as a flight condition too unsafe, so it was decided to let the airship fly back to Friedrichshafen. On September 19, the NT returned to Friedrichshafen.
In mid-October 2004 the ZLT and the Japanese buyer announced the plans for the second attempt at the transfer. Instead of by air, transport by ocean-going ship has now been announced. On November 11th, the airship left the shipyard in Friedrichshafen again to fly to southern Italy via France. The Zeppelin NT was loaded onto a dock ship in the Italian container port of Gioia Tauro on December 7th , which set off for Japan two days later. In order to get onto the transport ship, the zeppelin was coupled to its mast vehicle, pulled onto the ship and moored there with it. The tail units and the side propellers had been removed beforehand. The side engines of the NT were also dismantled on the ship. In order to protect the airship from the sea weather, especially the wind and the salty air, four-story container walls were piled up to the left and right of the float. The inner supporting structure was connected to the ship via struts. Two mechanics from the ZLT accompanied the several weeks of transport on board the cargo ship.
The ship arrived on January 8, 2005 in the Japanese port city of Kobe . On January 14th, after completion, the NT rose to a workshop flight and was transferred on the same day to the city of Nagoya , 240 kilometers away , in which the airship LZ 127 had already made a stop on the world voyage in 1930. According to the winter conditions prevailing in Japan in January, meteorologists announced snowfall at the time of the transfer flight. When the airship arrived in Nagoya and was at the anchor mast , tanks with warmed water were permanently available to free the airship from it when it started to snow.
After the NT was transferred from Nagoya to Tokyo a few days later, the airship was initially used there for advertising purposes for the main shareholder of Nippon Airship Corporation, the shipping company NYK-Lines. In mid-March, the airship had already completed 100 hours of flight in Japan. From May 2005 promotional flights and flights with invited guests of the Expo 2005 in the prefecture of Aichi were carried out. Although the NT is approved for one-man operation in Germany, the Japanese aviation authority stipulated that the NT in Japan must always be flown by two pilots.
It was not until June 29, 2007 that the NT was approved for commercial passenger operations in Japan. From the end of 2007, the NAC started offering sightseeing flights over Tokyo.
Among other things, the low number of passengers due to the remote location of the landing area an hour outside of Tokyo and the lack of advertising partners in the global economic crisis caused the operator, who had recently had financial difficulties, to cease flight operations in May 2010. In Japan, the airship was finally dismantled by ZLT technicians and, according to Thomas Brandt, the ZLT managing director, bought back “at a fraction of the price”.
In the second half of 2010 the NT was brought back to Friedrichshafen in freight containers. At the beginning of 2011, the drive units and helium valves were overhauled and the passenger gondola refurbished. In the course of the year and in the first construction phase, the interior structure was reassembled. The technical improvements that were incorporated into the production of the airship with the serial number SN04 were later built into the airship. The hoisting of the new airship hull, which was obtained from America, began in December 2011 and took about four weeks. At the end of February 2012, the three tail units and the side engines were installed, after which the engineers worked on the electrical cabling and the assembly of the tail engine.
On May 2, 2012, the first workshop flight of the Zeppelin NT took place under its old name “Bodensee”. In the course of the year it was equipped with a wide variety of measuring instruments and has since been mainly used for scientific purposes. Since the “Bodensee” airship is not a new build, but a reconstruction of the airship, the airship has had the serial number SN02R since the end of the reconstruction phase, with the “R” standing for “rebuild”.
From April 15, 2013 onwards, the Zeppelin NT Bodensee was en route for the Forschungszentrum Jülich from Friedrichshafen via Mainz-Finthen, Hildesheim, Lübeck, Sweden to Jämijärvi in Finland and back to Friedrichshafen for 11 weeks. In an air layer from 100 to 1000 meters above sea level, he collected measurement data from photochemical processes for the EU climate research project Pegasos.
Diamond hunt in Africa - last mission of the "Friedrichshafen"
In July 2005, the ZLT announced that it had signed a contract with the De Beers diamond group . On 1 August 2005, the Zeppelin "Friedrichshafen" broke out in the south of Africa on to geological for the group De Beers formations in South Africa , Namibia and Botswana to check for unknown commodities and diamonds. De Beers had signed a two-year contract for around 5.5 million euros with Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH (ZLT). After the Friedrichshafen was equipped with measuring devices that can determine geological formations under the earth's surface by measuring the force of attraction and the magnetic field and thus allow conclusions to be drawn about diamond deposits, the newly developed methods were tested on salt domes in Lower Saxony. In order to be able to accommodate the measuring devices at all, the airship was lightened by around 700 kg by removing parts of the cabin and two ballonets. By working with the Zeppelin NT, De Beers expected a better quality of the data, which is made possible by the special properties of airships. These can float longer and, above all, with less vibration at a low altitude (below 100 m) and are more maneuverable than aircraft, helicopters or balloons. Until then, the company had searched the area for gemstone deposits with Cessna planes and helicopters .
With this mission, the ZLT entered a new business field in earth observation. Even before the start of the mission in Africa, the ZLT considered leaving the airship in Africa after the end of the contract with De Beers and using it there for sightseeing flights.
The trip to Africa was similar to that of the zeppelin that had been sold to Japan. The airship, marked “Diamonds for Development in Africa”, took off on August 1, 2005 in Friedrichshafen for a transfer flight to Amsterdam . It arrived there on the same day after a refueling stop in Bonn and was loaded onto the 160 m long dock ship “ Enterprise ” destined for South Africa. After a 22-day voyage, the airship arrived in Cape Town , but could not be unloaded until August 31 because of the bad weather. After assembly, a 50-minute test flight was performed. The zeppelin was then equipped with the measuring instruments and began its work in Jwaneng , a mining town in southern Botswana. The exploration was mainly carried out at night to avoid the high temperatures and strong sunlight during the day. After the first months of use, De Beers was extremely satisfied with the measurement results, which were qualitatively 200 percent better than previous data.
At the beginning of 2006, De Beers had not yet decided whether the contract, which expired at the end of 2007, would be extended by the existing contract option for a further year. Company representatives stated, however, that the measurement data obtained with the Zeppelin are now 7 times better quality than previous data. At that time, however, the ZLT managing director Brandt categorically ruled out, for economic reasons, that the Zeppelin would be returned to Germany if the contract with De Beers ended at the end of 2007. The NT stationed in Africa had already arrived relatively close to the maximum operating time of 12,000 flight hours, so the NT was supposed to carry out tourist flights and would be dismantled on site at the end of its service life. In mid-2006 the NT was stationed in the Kalahari Desert region . By then, the zeppelin had already completed 800 hours of flight time in Africa, with the missions still mostly taking place at night in eight-hour missions seven days a week. Since the temperature in the desert can drop to zero degrees Celsius in the winter season in southern Africa, a heater was installed in the cabin of the NT.
In January 2007 the zeppelin flew to Gaborone / Botswana to undergo the annual inspection in a specially built hall. To date, the NT has been in use almost continuously for 15 months. During the maintenance work, two girders in particular had to be replaced on the support structures of the NT. At the same time it was announced that De Beers had expressed an interest in the fourth NT, which was under construction, to use the airship for diamond search missions in Canada. Similar to the “Friedrichshafen”, the group wanted to lease the fourth ship again for only three years instead of buying the ship. Within the ZLT, this request was judged rather critically, since the conclusion of a leasing contract would not have the necessary liquid funds for the construction of the fifth airship.
At midday on September 20, 2007 in Sekoma / Botswana , the zeppelin was badly damaged by a windpipe at the anchor mast while parked - exactly ten years and two days after the maiden flight of this first Zeppelin NT, and two months before the end of the contract with De Beers. The wind pants had lifted the ship over the anchor mast and then flung the stern to the ground. The member of the crew who was properly on board got away with minor injuries. After a team of experts examined the damage to the Zeppelin NT "Friedrichshafen" and found it to be irreparable, it was decided to dismantle the Zeppelin. Some undamaged parts were transported back to Germany by ship and later used as spare parts. Up until the accident, the airship had completed a total of 3,306 flight hours.
Sale of an airship to the USA and return to Friedrichshafen
On January 23, 2006, the ZLT announced that construction approval had been given for a fourth NT 07 airship , which should be produced from the end of the year. The decisive factor for the construction decision at this point in time was a high demand for Zeppelin sightseeing flights over the Lake Constance region, which could no longer be served with only one airship operated by the DZR. The ZLT also announced that the maximum service life of the NT could be more than doubled through further technical developments. The first three models were originally designed for a maximum of 12,000 operating hours. The new fourth type was then designed for a maximum of 25,000 operating hours. Originally it was planned to use this fourth Zeppelin from the 2008 flight season by the in-house DZR for flights over Lake Constance. Contrary to these initial plans, the fourth Zeppelin was reserved in June 2007 by the newly founded US company Airship Ventures, Inc. against payment of a down payment. The purchase price for the airship, the first helium filling, the mast vehicle and the pilot training was given as 10 million euros. After Airship Ventures was able to win six investors who provided sufficient equity to set up the company, the purchase agreement was signed by ZLT and Airship Ventures in early May 2008.
In terms of production technology, the engines were already mounted on the airship in mid-April 2008. The first filling of the airship with helium took place in mid-May. The maiden flight of this fourth ship took place on May 21, 2008 with the registration D-LZNT. After around 30 hours of test flight, the type certification by the US aviation authority ( FAA ) followed a little later .
The airship was transferred to America, as was the case with the “Bodensee” to Japan and the “Friedrichshafen” to Africa, on a so-called dock ship . First SN 04 flew to England and was used for six weeks via London for advertising purposes and for tourist tours. After being shipped on the MV Combi Dock I in Hamburg, the zeppelin arrived after a 15-day voyage on October 14, 2008 in Beaumont (Texas) in the USA, from where it was later transferred to California.
Until November 2012, the airship was used in California under the name "Eureka" with the registration number N-704LZ from the Moffett airfield for passenger flights. In passenger operations, it was often used for sightseeing flights over San Francisco Bay , Monterey Bay and for trips to Northern California's Napa Valley , over Silicon Valley and along the California coast. In addition, Eureka was also used for research purposes, such as in May 2012, when scientists used the Zeppelin NT to search for pieces of a meteorite that rocked the Sierra Nevada on April 22, 2012 southwest of Reno with a clearly perceptible volume and glaring light .
After an advertising contract with a large insurance group expired in November 2012, Airship Ventures had to cease business operations due to a lack of profitability. To make matters worse, the price for the helium lifting gas had risen eleven times within four years since business operations began. By the time operations ceased, the airship had completed around 4,000 flight hours and carried over 20,000 passengers. Members of the Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik management, who traveled to California shortly before the announcement of the discontinuation of business, informed the press that the airship would now be dismantled and transported back to Friedrichshafen. Interestingly, it was at this point in the press that it was first revealed that the Eureka airship had never been sold, only leased . Contrary to earlier announcements by Airship Ventures and ZLT, the airship was leased for a system price of 8.5 million euros.
Sale of three NT airships version LZ N07-101 to Goodyear
At the beginning of 2011, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company ordered three Zeppelin NT LZ N07s in the LZ N07-101 version for around 44 million euros , so that the production numbers 5 to 7 will be delivered to Goodyear. Compared to the previous version LZ N07-100 , a new display system in the cockpit and LED illuminated advertising are to be developed, which will later also be used in all other airships. Final assembly takes place at Goodyear's airship base on Wingfoot Lake near Akron . The first flight took place on March 17, 2014 at 9:55 a.m. The other airships are to be built and put into service by 2017. Goodyear plans to use the airships for advertising purposes and to transmit remote signals at major events. The ZLT also pointed out in a press release that the Zeppelin NT is approved for up to 15 people.
In July 2012, the European flight safety authority EASA certified the production facility and planned production processes of Goodyear at the Wingfoot Lake location. This assessment was necessary because the ZLT is a certified manufacturing company, but the final assembly is to be carried out at a new location in the future.
The first technical elements in the form of 21 longitudinal members and aluminum track structural parts were loaded into containers in Friedrichshafen in mid-August 2012 and then shipped from Bremerhaven to New York .
The hull of the first airship destined for Goodyear was already assembled in mid-March 2013. At the same time, Goodyear announced that it would begin final assembly of the first airship in Akron. According to the current state of planning, the mere assembly and installation of avionics and flight control systems should take seven months. The first flight took place in mid-March 2014, the type certification with the American flight safety authority FAA and the training of pilots are now gradually taking place
Sale to Airship Paris
In mid-October 2012, the plans of the newly founded company Airship Paris were announced to the public. The France-based company intended to order a Zeppelin NT airship and then deploy it via Paris. For the public announcement, however, the company had only made a down payment of 250,000 euros on the system purchase price of 16.8 million euros, as the company had not yet completed the financing. If the financing from investors had been complete and the company had commissioned the construction of a new NT, according to the ZLT, delivery would not have taken place until 2015. So that Airship Paris would have been able to offer tourist flights as early as 2013, the “Bodensee” airship would have been loaned to France, which at the time was carrying out various research assignments for Forschungszentrum Jülich.
According to the ZLT board member Brandt, the operational Zeppelin operation is only economically profitable in actual flight operations . However, the construction and development of the airship as such cannot be amortized through flight operations , so that the Zeppelin NT project would not be economically viable on its own with an integrated consideration of development and operation. Funding was therefore only possible through the Zeppelin Foundation .
Seasonal balance sheets
- August 15, 2001 first passenger flight. By the end of 2001, the first two ships had carried 3222 passengers.
- By mid-April 2003 a total of 12,500 passengers had been carried; The 2003 flying season officially ended on December 3, 2003. During this period, almost 17,000 passengers were transported, which means that a good 29,000 people have been transported since flight operations began.
- By the time it was sold in March 2003, the “Bodensee” had completed 2,600 flight hours.
- In 2005, 10,400 passengers were carried, five percent more than in 2004.
- In the 2006 season, 8,991 passengers were carried with the remaining airship SN03 from the Deutsche Zeppelin shipping company. The ship made 1050 flight hours. The total number of passengers since 2001 was 58,741. The airship "Friedrichshafen" deployed in Africa made 901 flight hours in 2006.
- At the end of the 2007 flying season, the total flight time of all three zeppelins was 8,179 hours and 73,000 passengers had been carried. SN01 Friedrichshafen completed 326 hours in 2007 until its end. SN02 in Japan was in the air for 350 hours. The SN03, stationed on Lake Constance, made 1,174 flight hours and carried 12,050 passengers.
- By the end of July 2008, the DZR had completed 14,000 flight hours, and by the end of August over 85,000 passengers had been transported. 12,000 of them in 2008 alone.
- In 2009, the DZR carried 12,600 passengers, and the company also stated that it has transported more than 95,000 passengers since the start of flight operations.
- In June 2010 the 100,000 passenger was carried by the DZR. During the whole of 2010 a total of 12,333 passengers were carried. Since 2001, the DZR has received 108,069 passengers.
- By mid-August 2011, a total of 117,500 passengers had been carried by the DZR. During the 2011 season, 12,435 passengers were transported across Lake Constance.
- Season balance 2012: 11,000 passengers
- Season balance 2013: more than 12,000 passengers
- Season balance 2014: 16,000 passengers
- Season balance 2015: 22,500 passengers
- Season balance 2016: 20,000 passengers
- Season balance 2017: 24,000 passengers
- Season balance 2018: 24,700 passengers, two Zeppelins NT, sightseeing flights from Friedrichshafen, in Prague, Munich, Hanover and in the Rhineland. Flying season from March 9th to November 11th 2018.
|capacity||12 passengers and an on- board toilet
or 13 passengers (Goodyear version: 14 passengers)
or 1,900 kg payload
|Envelope volume (nominal)||8,425 m³|
|Shell surface||2,630 m²|
|Advertising surface||2,000 m²|
|Gross weight||10,690 kg|
|Engines||3 Lycoming O-360 (air-cooled four-cylinder engine)|
|Tank volume||1,100 l
2,500 l with "Range Extender Kit"
|Fuel consumption||50 l / flight hour|
|Max. lifespan||12,000 operating hours (SN 01-03)
25,000 operating hours (SN 04)
|Top speed||125 km / h|
|Cruise speed||115 km / h|
or 1450 km with the "Range Extender Kit"
|Maximum flight time||35 h|
|Service ceiling||2,600 m|
|Gondola length||10.7 m|
|Max. width||2.3 m|
|Max. height||2.5 m|
|Cabin volume||29 m³|
As a rule, the Zeppelin NT starts with about 350 kg "overweight", ie. H. the aerostatic buoyancy is slightly less than the mass of the airship. Like almost all modern airships, it combines “lighter-than-air” and “heavier-than-air” technology by generating the lack of lift using engine power. There is no need to drop ballast . With light loads and partially empty fuel tanks, the static buoyancy can be greater than the weight of the ship. Because of the use of the motor power to compensate for lift and the small amount of lift change, however, expensive helium usually does not have to be drained from the envelope.
The Zeppelin NT 07 theoretically reaches speeds of up to 125 km / h , usually flies at an altitude of around 300 meters and can climb to a maximum of 2600 meters. In the standard configuration it has a range of around 900 kilometers. Take-off and landing can take place vertically and with little effort by just three people on the ground. An anchor mast is used for this, which is usually located on a truck. The airship can also be towed with this mobile landing mast.
The usual speed of around 70 km / h for tourist flights can be achieved simply by using the rear engine.
In order to start the mastering process after a successful flight, the NT must maneuver the propeller into the desired position in relation to the mobile mast vehicle with its own thrust. In the semi-automatic approach, the bow line attached to the airship is coupled to the anchor mast line, whereupon the NT is pulled to the mast by the mast vehicle.
The NT 07 model has a support structure made of twelve carbon fiber triangles, which are connected with three aluminum longitudinal members , within the hull along the entire length of the ship . The engines, nacelle and tail unit are attached to it. The supporting structure weighs only around 1000 kg and is also braced by aramid ropes.
In the historic zeppelins, the gas cells and the envelope were separate. With the Zeppelin NT, the envelope also forms the only gas cell. The volume of the NT 07 is 8425 m³ with a length of 75 meters and a diameter of 14.2 meters. It consists of a three-layer laminate and is filled with helium. The first layer of Tedlar (PVF) is gas-tight, while the second layer of polyester fabric gives the shell the necessary strength. The third layer consists of polyurethane , can be thermally welded and is used to connect the individual cover-laminate sheets. To maintain the outer shape, the shell is under a slight excess pressure of the carrier gas of about 5 mbar. As with impact airships, this overpressure is kept constant by ballonets with a total volume of up to 2200 m³.
In contrast to an impact or keel airship , in which the payload is carried almost entirely by the hull, with the Zeppelin NT as a semi-rigid airship, 95 percent of the load is carried by the aluminum structure inside the airship and only five percent by the hull.
The hull of all previously manufactured NTs was made by the US American ILC Dover , which also took over the original development for this type of airship. According to media information in March 2013, the unit price per case was US $ 12 million.
Despite the Tedlar layer, a small proportion of the helium still diffuses through the shell material. The adhesive foils with which the ships are colored and which are applied according to the wishes of the advertiser are therefore perforated in order to prevent the formation of bubbles under the foils and their detachment. The advertising can also be attached to the cover in the form of large banners.
Drive and control
With its three 5.9-liter four-cylinder boxer engines of the Textron Lycoming IO-360 type, each with an output of 147 kW, and the pivoting propellers, the Zeppelin NT has very good maneuvering properties. The motors can no longer be reversed (running forwards and backwards) as with earlier zeppelins, but have variable-pitch propellers for thrust control and reversal.
The two side motors are equipped with pull propellers that can be swiveled 120 degrees upwards from the horizontal and further backwards. The rear motor works with a pusher propeller , which can be swiveled 90 degrees downwards. In addition, it has a steering propeller that acts from the side, which works similarly to a tail rotor on a helicopter. Its leaves have no slope, so they can assume a neutral position. The angle of attack of the blades can be changed to both sides, so that this propeller supports the rudder or yaw control is still possible when the speed is low and there is no air flow to the rudder surfaces.
In contrast to earlier zeppelins, the tail fin consists of only three fins, which are arranged at an angle of 120 degrees to each other. The attached rudders are controlled by the flight control system according to the required elevator and rudder functions. The pilot controls the Zeppelin NT using fly-by-wire technology with a joystick that enables movements in all three spatial directions.
ZF Friedrichshafen , which is also a partner in Luftschiffbau Zeppelin , designed a new type of transmission for the propeller drives of the airship . The three swiveling propellers each have a diameter of 2.7 m. The propeller at the stern 2.2 m.
In order to be able to carry out ground operations for a Zeppelin NT airship, a mobile landing mast vehicle, a tank truck, ballast provisions, service and maintenance platforms, helium cleaning and refilling systems and other technical systems are required.
When the airship is docked on the mobile landing mast, the front landing gear is extended, but without contact with the ground. The rear landing gear is in contact with the ground and moves in a circle with the airship and the direction of the wind. At higher winds, the ship is made light at the stern by pumping fuel from the rear tank to the front tanks and by transferring air into the front balloon. The ship takes off at the rear and is “flown” on the mast by a crew member in order to avoid the landing wheel hitting hard and thus to protect the airship structure. The berth must not have any obstacles, must have a radius of at least 150 m and is known as the landing zone. Both the landing zone and the access roads must be designed for a load of at least 32 t so that the mobile mast vehicle can drive to the airship.
Gradual design and production improvements
The design and production of the fourth airship (SN 04) has been improved in some places compared to SN 03. A total of 86 technical changes were made, all of which had to be approved by the licensing authorities. In particular, a modified manufacturing process made it possible to increase the service life of the side members to 25 years. The dead weight of the fourth NT was also reduced by 2000 kg, resulting in an increase in payload.
The three zeppelins ordered by Goodyear in spring 2011 are 80 percent based on the existing model, according to statements made by the ZLT management. According to Brandt, Goodyear would only buy “a standard airship with a few options”.
Comparison of the NT with zeppelins of historical design
There are several striking differences between the Zeppelin NT design and zeppelins before 1940:
- Unlike its predecessors, the Zeppelin NT no rigid airship , but a semi-rigid airship .
- The Zeppelin NT is mainly used for sightseeing flights and as an advertising medium. It is currently not intended to be used as a commercial airship in regular service or as a military airship .
- The airships of the type Zeppelin NT built so far are 75 m long and with their hull volume of 8,425 m³ by a volume factor of 10 to 20 smaller than the old zeppelins with up to 200,000 m³, the range is also significantly shorter.
- The outer shell with the inner triangular support structure is also the only gas cell. As is usual with semi-rigid airships , there is a slight overpressure within the envelope compared to the air pressure, so that the envelope also determines the outer shape. In the past, several gas cells suspended within the polygonal structure were covered with fabric stretched over the frame.
- Instead of the flammable hydrogen, only helium, which is now easily available and is also used in all other current airships, is used as the lifting gas . As a noble gas, helium is not flammable, but compared to hydrogen it is significantly more expensive and about twice as heavy, which reduces the load-bearing capacity by around eight percent with the same volume.
- Modern airships generally take off a little more heavily than air, consume fuel during operation and are therefore lighter, possibly even lighter than air. At least when taking off, the aerostatic buoyancy is insufficient to keep the ship in the air by itself. The missing lift force is generated by the motors via propellers and when moving through the fuselage, which is positioned at a positive angle to the direction of flight (dynamic lift). The Zeppelin NT is therefore permanently dependent on engine power to generate the dynamic lift in order to keep itself in the air, i.e. i.e., it "flies". On the other hand, there are aircraft such as balloons or the historical "zeppelins", which only rise under static buoyancy, i. that is, they "drive".
From its maiden flight up to 2012, the Zeppelin NT 07 was the largest active airship in the world in terms of volume. In August 2012 the first flight of the hybrid airship Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) took place, which with an envelope volume of 38,000 m³ is more than four times the volume. The hull of the LEMV was later manned as an Airlander (first flight in 2016), which took over the size record before the Zeppelin NT.
On October 27, 2004, the American billionaire and adventurer Steve Fossett set a new FAI speed record for the first ever ship, the D-LZFN "Friedrichshafen", after he was the 14th pilot to acquire a license to pilot a Zeppelin NT all airship classes (most real older records are not recognized by the FAI). He flew a 1000 m measuring section in both directions at an average speed of 111.8 kilometers per hour. The old record of a Lightship A-60 + from January 19, 2000 was 92.8 kilometers per hour.
Areas of application
In addition to touristic sightseeing flights, the airships are also used as an observation platform for the video and television media, for example at major events. Due to the long service life and the low-vibration flight, the ships are also well suited for research missions , such as environmental observation, tropospheric research or the exploration of mineral resources .
Sightseeing flights over Lake Constance and the hinterland
Since August 2001 the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei (DZR) has offered sightseeing flights with the Zeppelin NT airships. The covers are marketed as advertising space. The ships can also be rented and designed for entire advertising campaigns. This is their main use.
Under optimal weather conditions, a Zeppelin NT can carry out up to eleven daily flights with 12 passengers each. The flying season on Lake Constance lasts a total of seven months.
A sightseeing flight from Friedrichshafen , Allmannsweiler Straße, the home airport of the Zeppelins, takes about 40 to 80 minutes. There is an east route via Lindau - Bregenz - Rorschach and a west route in the direction of Meersburg - Überlingen - Mainau island - Konstanz . There are also routes via Ravensburg (Friedrichshafen - Waldburg - Tettnang - Ravensburg - Weingarten - Friedrichshafen), to Salem Castle ( Salem - Markdorf - Meersburg) and to the Rhine Falls - Schaffhausen (Mainau Island - Meersburg - Konstanz - Schaffhausen). Occasionally, other routes from Friedrichshafen and from other take-off and landing sites are also served. The zeppelins are also used for sightseeing flights at other locations.
Since its commissioning, the NT has been used for a variety of research projects. The DZR generates 15 to 25 percent of sales with these special assignments. The airships are particularly suitable as research platforms, as they are the only aircraft suitable for examining undisturbed air masses at low altitudes with the help of heavy measuring systems. Further advantages of the Zeppelin NT for research projects: They are extremely maneuverable, e.g. B. ascend and descend vertically. You can fly slowly with a mass of air to record chemical reactions within the mass of air. You can carry large loads on top of the airship to register chemical reactions affected by sunlight. For the measurement flights, a so-called top platform with measurement devices is mounted on top of the Zeppelin; the cabin contains the analysis devices. Some other research assignments were:
- When the Zeppelin NT was traveling over Munich for the 2002 Oktoberfest, the Zeppelin NT helped DLR and ESA in the development of the European Galileo navigation system by undertaking measurement drives over the city, during which it simulated a satellite . The signals were received by a measuring vehicle moving on the ground. In doing so, he followed in the footsteps of the earlier airships LZ 126 and LZ 130 , which carried out radio and radio direction finding tests over the Atlantic, Germany and the North Sea as early as the 1920s and 1930s, at that time partly for military purposes .
- In the summer of 2004, a Zeppelin NT carried a downward-facing camera on sightseeing flights over Lake Constance , which provided images for long-term observation of the shore zone by the Lake Research Institute.
- The Zeppelin NT has been used for atmospheric research for several years. In the years 2007 and 2008 the first large measurement campaigns were carried out by Forschungszentrum Jülich , where the concentrations of trace gases and particles in the lower troposphere were measured. As of May 2012, a Zeppelin NT will take off for measurement flights in northern Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland as part of the EU project PEGASOS.
- In October 2010, a new method for remote observation of water surfaces was tested with the Zeppelin NT over Lake Constance. The systems developed by the German Research Center for Geosciences Potsdam and the German Aerospace Center and housed in the Zeppelin NT receive GPS beams that are reflected from the surface of the water. By analyzing this reflection, statements can be made about the properties of the water surface, such as its geometric height or the wave height. In the future, tsunami early detection should also be possible with such a trade fair model.
- In May 2012, the airship stationed in America with the serial number SN04 "Eureka" was used to search for pieces of a meteorite . This meteorite fell to Earth on April 22, 2012, southwest of Reno, with a clearly perceptible volume and glaring light appearance on Earth in the Sierra Nevada .
- In April - June 2013, as part of the EU project PEGASOS, the Zeppelin NT researched the composition and chemical processes in the atmosphere on a trip to Finland.
- In 2013, Zeppelin NT in southern France took part in the EU joint project I2C ( Integrated System for Interoperable sensors & Information sources for Common abnormal vessel behavior detection & Collaborative identification of threat ). The aim was to develop an integrated monitoring system for border and coastal protection. The Zeppelin as a sensor platform was equipped with radar, a camera system with optical, infrared and residual light sensors, AIS and a data link to the ground station.
- In June 2016, an expedition called “Clockwork Ocean” started over the Baltic Sea.
Event and traffic monitoring
As was the "Friedrichshafen" on the Paris Air Show in 2005, was the Zeppelin NT SN 03 also equipped with surveillance technology and, for example, for the World Youth Day 2005 via Cologne and CHIO-horse show set in 2005 in Aachen. Before setting off for World Youth Day, SN 03 was blessed by a pastor in Friedrichshafen on August 14, 2005.
During the 2006 soccer world championship , the Zeppelin NT again carried out monitoring and research tasks in the Rhineland in order to test the system for more efficient traffic control. As part of the “Soccer” research project initiated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) , a zeppelin flew 600 meters above the city during the five soccer matches taking place in Cologne. A special camera system was installed on the bottom of the airship beforehand, which can create real-time images of the traffic situation, with which the police can make a short-term forecast of the traffic situation of up to 60 minutes.
Further development of the NT and outlook
When the first market and concept studies were being carried out in 1993, it was already clear that a longer and larger version of the NT would make economic sense. Immediately at the start of passenger flight operations, information was also given publicly for the first time about possible future expansion plans. In August 2001 it was announced that a concept study would be drawn up by mid-2002, which would deal with a 100 m long version of the NT that could hold up to 30 passengers.
In March 2003 it was announced that the idea of constructing a 100 meter long version would not be pursued for the time being. Instead, scenarios would be created to find out whether it would be worthwhile to expand the version by six to 18 seats. The public was surprised in April 2003 by the Zeppelin Tourism Association , which, under its chairman and former managing director of the ZLT, Wolfgang von Zeppelin, presented the concept of a larger tourism airship. On the basis of the Zeppelin NT technology, a 125 m long airship is to be constructed, which can transport up to 40 passengers. The project study presented also planned to use these airships to fly to ten European cities in six countries, thereby offering a luxurious travel experience for well-heeled tourists. The concept study never got beyond initial considerations. In the meantime, the ideas of the development association led to a public dispute with the management of the ZLT. However, the basic idea is still supported today.
At the end of July 2004, the ZLT and the Wiesbaden company LTA Technologie AG , which had been founded by former shareholders and executive employees of the insolvent Cargolifter AG , signed a letter of intent to purchase a 19-seater airship based on the technology of the Zeppelin NT. It was planned to expand the NT to a length of 88 m, which would achieve a lifting gas volume of 13,000 m³. A team of six from the ZLT had already been working on this idea for several months. It was announced that the first interim results would be presented by September 2004 and detailed cost and time planning by the end of 2004. Towards the end of the year it was less the results of the study than that a dispute between the Zeppelin Tourism Association and the ZLT was publicly noticed. The development association still pursued the idea of a 125 m long and 45 passenger airship. However, it remained unclear who could have raised the necessary 356 million euros in development costs. The ZLT therefore only protected a minimal increase in the NT to 19 passengers. The much larger 45-passenger version would at best be a variant following the 19-passenger version.
At the beginning of 2005, plans to enlarge the NT were again announced to the public. In addition to the Japanese Nippon Airship Corporation, LTA Technologie AG has again shown interest in a larger NT. In February, the ZLT announced that approval had been given for the development of a 19-seat version of the NT within the company. Conceptually, the company envisaged building the 19-seater on the type certification of the 12-seater. Another advantage would have been that the new version would have been listed in the same approval class, which would minimize the approval effort. In order to create sufficient load-bearing capacity, it was planned to extend the airship from 75 to 85 meters and to expand the hull diameter from 14.2 to 16 meters. This would have resulted in an overall increase in volume from 8,200 to 14,000 m³, which is why this planning version was also named in-house with the type NT14 . Because central airship systems such as engines, cockpit, flight controls and ground equipment only need to be adjusted minimally, when the plans were announced in 2005, it was announced that the 19-seater would be flying for the first time in mid-2007 and put into commercial operation at the end of 2008. In addition to the development approval, it was also decided at the time to build a first series batch, but it was not announced how many copies this would include. The ZLT also did not mention the estimated development costs of the NT14. The 45-person airship, heavily sponsored by the Zeppelin Tourism Association, was described by the ZLT management at a press conference in April 2005 as the next logical step in the development. The costs for research and development of a cargo airship , which Cargolifter AG had tried to realize a few years earlier , were also estimated by the ZLT management at over 2 billion euros.
When the airship “Friedrichshafen” was chartered to South Africa to the De Beers group in mid-2005 to search for diamonds, the ZLT started considering alternatives to quickly create a replacement airship. Instead of a 19-seater, it was proposed to construct a 12-seater, which above all could have been constructed very quickly on the basis of existing spare parts. In October 2005 an internal study was commissioned to investigate the chances of such a scaled-down type. At the same time it was announced that the start of construction of the 19-seater version would be delayed.
After the decision to build a fourth NT was announced at the beginning of 2006, it was announced at the same time that the development of the 19-seater would not be delayed any further. Originally, the extended version of the NT was supposed to fly in 2008. In 2006, however, the management planned that this version would have its maiden flight in 2010 at the earliest.
After the plans decided in 2005 to enlarge the NT had not been implemented, it was announced again in May 2009 that the fifth Zeppelin NT with a somewhat lengthened gondola and an increased number of seats from 12 to 14 was being planned was not realized.
Parallel to the proclamation of the 100,000. The DZR passenger was announced in June 2010 that a company-internal decision should be made by the end of the year as to whether a fifth Zeppelin should be built and whether it should be increased from 12 to 15 passenger seats. At the beginning of 2011, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company ordered three Zeppelin NT LZ N07s in the LZ N07-101 version for around 44 million euros, so that construction approval was actually granted for a fifth Zeppelin NT airship. Information on whether this airship will actually be enlarged is not yet available.
Airship hangar in Friedrichshafen
In 1978 the last airship hangar in Friedrichshafen was demolished. For the Zeppelin NT project, a new hangar had to be designed and constructed accordingly. This airship hangar, built for the construction of the airship, is located on the northern area of Friedrichshafen Airport . After an initial tender in 1996, Hofkammer Projektentwicklung GmbH was awarded the contract to build the hall, which was designed by the architect Roland Wallischeck. The construction costs amounted to 10 million DM.
The building is 109 meters long, 69 meters wide and 32 meters high. With these dimensions, the hangar is one of the largest halls in southern Germany. In terms of dimensions, the hall is designed in such a way that theoretically three Zeppelin NTs could be produced per year. The hall can accommodate two airships at the same time, whereby the construction of a third copy could also be prepared in parallel.
The hall was also made accessible to the public in guided shipyard tours. The traces of the accident and damage to the hangar, which resulted from a collision of the prototype in February 1999, are still visible on the north-eastern inside of the hall gate.
|Parameter of the hall||Data|
|Usable area:||8,000 m²|
|Gross Area:||8,200 m²|
|Start of construction:||April 1997|
|Construction time:||9 months|
- Manfred Bauer: Airship hangars in Friedrichshafen. 2nd expanded edition, Friedrichshafen 2001, ISBN 3-86136-069-1 .
- Jürgen K. Bock, Berthold Knauer: Lighter than air: transport and carrier systems. Verlag Frankenschwelle, Hildburghausen 2003, ISBN 3-86180-139-6 .
- Klaus Hagenlocher: Experience in the development and manufacturing of the Zeppelin New Technology Airship. In: Airship. No. 110, December 1995, pp. 22-32.
- Willi Hallmann: Balloons and airships through the ages. Heel Verlag, Königswinter 2002, ISBN 3-89880-013-X , p. 98 ff.
- Philipp Hermanns: Organizational Hubris - The rise and fall of a celebrity firm using the example of CargoLifter AG. Kölner Wissenschaftsverlag, Cologne 2012, ISBN 978-3-942720-33-5 . Also available as an open access version at: FU Berlin: Dissertations Online .
- Wolfgang Meighörner: giants of the air. K. Müller, Erlangen 1996, ISBN 3-86070-595-4 .
- Bernd Sträter: Zeppelin NT. In: GA Khoury: Airship Technology . 2nd Edition. Cambridge 2012, ISBN 978-1-107-01970-6 , pp. 547-576.
- Rolf Zimmermann: Get on with the new Zeppelin NT. Stadler, Konstanz 2003, ISBN 3-7977-0488-7 .
- Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH - the manufacturer
- Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei - offers among other things sightseeing flights with the Zeppelin NT .
- Luftschiffseiten.de - lots of pictures and current information
- Zeppelin-Europe-Tours.com - a concept for a larger variant and its use
- Zeppelin-Museum.de - Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen
- Zeppelin-Museum.com - Zeppelin Museum in Meersburg (Lake Constance)
- Clausberg, K. (1990): Zeppelin: The story of an unlikely success, Augsburg, p. 173.
- Waibel, B. (2002): The LZ 132 project. Revitalization of Zeppelin airship travel in the 1950s ?, in: Meighörner, W. (Ed.): Airships: Die nie haben haben, Friedrichshafen, pp. 158-149 .
- Der Spiegel 20/1998: Schildbürger der Lüfte , accessed on August 23, 2012.
- Neue Zürcher Zeitung (April 2, 1998): The new Zeppelin is a long time coming. Underestimated development effort - know-how bottleneck?
- Handelsblatt (August 20, 1997, p. 37): Zeppelin NT before take-off. He slowly slides along.
- Neue Zürcher Zeitung (April 1, 1997, p. 45): First series airship goes to Switzerland
- Handelsblatt (May 6, 1997, p. 43): Five zeppelins have already been ordered. The silver cigar as an advertising medium.
- Handelsblatt (April 24, 1997, p. 13): Zeppelin: contracts for five airships. A new generation is starting.
- Stuttgarter Zeitung (September 19, 1997): Silver cigar on its maiden flight: Zeppelin equipped with modern technology - used in tourism
- Die Zeit (September 26, 1997): Floating and finding markets: After sixty years, a “real Zeppelin” starts again in Friedrichshafen
- Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung (September 20, 1997): After the maiden flight of the Zeppelin: "It was fantastic"
- Bonner General-Anzeiger (September 19, 1997): “Hindenburg” machinist was present on the first flight: the new zeppelin revived the era of the “flying cigars”. Already five firm orders from Friedrichshafen.
- Eugen Bentele: A Zeppelin machinist tells. My journeys 1931–1938. ISBN 978-3-926162-56-4 .
- Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (March 27, 1998): Zeppelin successful
- TAZ (March 26, 1998, p. 9): New Zeppelin passed the test phase: Series assembly is to begin in May
- Leipziger-Volkszeitung (March 26, 1998, p. 25): Series assembly of the airship is to begin in May
- Philipp Hermanns: Organizational Hubris - Rise and Fall of a Celebrity Firm using the example of CargoLifter AG. Kölner Wissenschaftsverlag, Cologne 2012, ISBN 978-3-942720-33-5 , p. 224 ff.
- VDI-Nachrichten (June 19, 1998): Zeppelins: With the air fish around the world Giants of the air
- Telepolis (April 27, 1999): Are the zeppelins coming back? , Accessed August 25, 2012.
- Bonner General-Anzeiger (January 30, 1999, p. 29): The zeppelin euphoria has vanished
- Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung (January 5, 1999): New Zeppelin NT is still "in the air"
- Christian Wüst: AVIATION: Vice of the air . In: Der Spiegel . No. 34 , 1999 ( online - Aug 23, 1999 ). Quote: “ Vice of the air. Not far from Berlin, a private company wants to build the largest airship of all time. The CargoLifter is intended to deliver cargo weighing tons to anywhere in the world. Public funding gives the project a boost, but the technical problems are enormous "
- Südkurier (March 27, 1999): Zeppelin NT remains on the ground with Aero: The departing ZLT managing director Max Mugler remains loyal to the new airship
- Südkurier (June 25, 1999): Airship engines will soon stop. The failure of systems is simulated during the test flights - fully on the new schedule
- Stuttgarter Zeitung (August 6, 2003, p. 10): Cruises in the sky Airship enthusiasts are working on a new zeppelin
- Südkurier (April 16, 1999): Europe's planes fly on the Aero. Largest trade fair for general aviation from April 21st to 25th in Friedrichshafen - Zeppelin will probably remain on the ground
- Südkurier (August 13, 1999): Airship meets expectations. Suitability for passenger flights tested - take-offs and landings possible without additional assistance
- Südkurier (8 October 1999): NT on long-Switzerland flight. Airmail dropped
- Basler Zeitung (October 8, 1999, p. 43): Airship Zeppelin anchored in Schupfart
- Südkurier (17 November 1999): Zeppelin NT 400 hours in the air. Airship yesterday on its anniversary flight. About 300 flight hours left for type certification
- Südkurier (2 February 2000): In the airship hangar there narrowness full of urge. The skeleton of the first series airship is installed. The envelope is checked for leaks. First flight planned for October
- Südkurier (June 16, 2000): Zeppelin goes on a long journey. Approval received
- Südkurier (July 3, 2000): Airships in the sky fascinate the masses. The godmother Elisabeth Veil becomes weak. Teufel pays tribute to Zeppelin's work Thousands watch the airship parade
- Airship pages: Pictures from the airship parade on July 2, 2000 , accessed on August 30, 2012.
- Südkurier (August 2, 2000): Zeppelin returned from Nordlandtour. Enthusiastic reception in many cities. Now 630 hours of flight under the belt
- Südkurier (August 10, 2000): Zeppelin technology. Retired father of the new Zeppelin. Klaus Hagenlocher taught the new airship to fly
- Südkurier (October 11, 2000): The first serial Zeppelin stays here. Not a customer with proven funding. New Zeppelins set up their own shipping company
- Thüringer Allgemeine (February 24, 2001): The German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder wanted to hover over Lake Constance yesterday
- Südkurier (April 27, 2001): Another milestone in the history of the Zeppelin. The opening of the Aero trade fair will be a day of joy. Long waiting list for airship flights - thanks to shareholders and employees
- Jürgen Schelling: This is how a zeppelin is made. In " Südkurier ", April 3, 2020.
- Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung (August 16, 2001, p. 14): Flight permit
- Südkurier (March 3, 2004): Zeppelin NT /
- Neue Zürcher Zeitung (July 27, 2001, p. 59): Zeppelin mail on August 1
- Südkurier (April 17, 2002): Trial landing in the city of birth
- Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung (August 30, 2002, p. 21): Shipping company welcomes 10,000 guests on board the Zeppelin NT
- Südkurier (February 10, 2003): Third Zeppelin takes off for the first time /
- Hamburger Abendblatt (January 18, 2003, p. 21): Airships find no buyers, the hangar is full. What will happen to the 100 employees? The flying cigar crisis. Construction freeze for Zeppelins.
- Südkurier (February 10, 2003): First trip into blue skies. Third Zeppelin NT takes off
- Südkurier (March 7, 2003): Flights also at night / Zeppelin sightseeing flights with a new marketing strategy
- Südkurier (April 30, 2004): Zeppelin for BMW on a trip to Eastern Europe. Airship took off for Prague at dawn - two and a half months on a promotional tour that was thousands of kilometers long
- Südkurier (July 28, 2004): Traffic radio warns of Zeppelin. Airship "Friedrichshafen" proves its worth on a major tour of Eastern Europe
- Südkurier (July 6, 2004): Wind gust puts Zeppelin out of action. The chassis was damaged in Zurich - waiting for a replacement part
- Südkurier (October 20, 2004): Steve Fossett has a Zeppelin license
- Südkurier (September 24, 2004): Suspected record: Fossett at Zeppelin. Rumors of another visit by the billionaire - record hunter in the pilot's seat
- Basler Zeitung (October 28, 2004, p. 40): Fossett flew the fastest zeppelin in the world
- Südkurier (March 16, 2005): New boss at the ZLT rudder
- Südkurier (March 19, 2005): “Now is the right time to change”. Bernd Sträter will hand over management of Zeppelin airship technology to Thomas Brandt on July 1st - the flying season starts today
- Südkurier (July 1, 2005): He still has no time for a retirement party. Bernd Sträter says goodbye as head of ZLT and DZR - but the airships won't let him go
- Südkurier (August 18, 2006): 55,000 passengers in five years. The Zeppelin NT has been making sightseeing flights since August 2001
- Südkurier (November 24, 2006): Research and Naked Women. Zeppelin NT undertakes environmental measurement flights - hangar in Africa - art project with Mainau
- Stuttgarter Zeitung (March 3, 2008, p. 21): The zeppelin is coming again on the day of remembrance
- Südkurier (May 23, 2008): A dive with a paraglider. Mike Küng is the first person to jump from a flying zeppelin.
- Südkurier (June 11, 2008): Debut on Big Ben and Thames. For the first time, Zeppelin NT is operating commercial passenger flights over England's capital.
- Südkurier (July 5, 2008): “Number four” is going on a long journey. Stopover in London - Zeppelin NT is known all over the world.
- Südkurier (June 27, 2008): Zeppelin is firmly in female hands. 33-year-old Englishwoman Katharine Board is being trained as a pilot in Friedrichshafen.
- Südkurier (July 31, 2008): Zeppelin is firmly in female hands. 33-year-old Englishwoman Katherina Board is being trained as a pilot in Friedrichshafen.
- Stuttgarter Zeitung (March 27, 2010, p. 20): Zeppelin passes 24-hour test flight. The Zeppelin shipyard in Friedrichshafen wants to extend the range of its airships. 1450 kilometers are possible.
- Südkurier (March 3, 2004): On the track of the count. Zeppelin sold to Japan
- Zeppelin NT sold to Japan. Contract signed: Nippon Airship Corporation transfers airship on historic route of LZ 127
- Südkurier dated May 26, 2004: Now we can start / Training of Japanese pilots and technicians on the Zeppelin NT successfully completed
- Südkurier (June 14, 2004): Airship “Bodensee” now a Japanese. Ceremonial handover of title deed for Zeppelin - flight to new home is imminent
- Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (March 3, 2004): Zeppelin. Sightseeing and advertising flights for a new airship. Transfer to Japan takes place in June
- Darmstädter Echo: (April 26, 2004): Japanflug also a rehabilitation
- Südkurier (June 11, 2004): Farewell party on July 2
- Stuttgarter Zeitung (June 11, 2004, p. 7): Zeppelin's Japan flight takes place without public
- Südkurier (July 28, 2004): Plans for a larger Zeppelin / Wiesbaden company wants to buy - Japanese airship is stuck in Helsinki
- Südkurier (August 28, 2004): The Japan Zeppelin is coming back. Transfer flight canceled - preparations for return flight - by ship to Japan?
- Südkurier (September 20, 2004): This return was not planned. The first Zeppelin NT sold to Japan landed again in Friedrichshafen
- Vorarlberger Nachrichten (October 12, 2004): Journey by ship: Second attempt for Zeppelin overpass
- Südkurier (November 12, 2004): Japan-Zeppi is gone. Last farewell yesterday
- Südkurier (December 8, 2004): Done: Zeppelin is on the ship. After night preparation: Japan airship is stowed on the dock ship
- Südkurier (January 10, 2005): Zeppelin arrived in Japan /
- Südkurier (January 15, 2005): Zeppelin flies to Nagoya. Yesterday morning first flight in Japanese airspace - NAC wants bigger airship
- Südkurier (April 21, 2005): Storm, snow and pig intestines / Zeppelin captain Fritz Günther and his colleagues are back from Japan after three months
- Südkurier (November 27, 2007): Zeppelin circles over Tokyo / Airship from Friedrichshafen is used for sightseeing flights outside Germany for the first time
- Südkurier (December 9, 2010): A good 1100 hours in the air.
- Schwäbische Zeitung (August 9, 2011, p. 3): Interview with Thomas Brandt: Exotisch: "The challenge when selling airships is that the market has to be created"
- Südkurier (March 24, 2011, p. 20): Zeppelin NT starts the new flight season. From Friday the shipping company will again be offering sightseeing flights of 30 minutes to two hours.
- Schwäbische Zeitung (December 13, 2011, p. 1): It takes almost four weeks to open the zeppelin cover.
- Schwäbische Zeitung (February 29, 2012, p. 3): The “Bodensee” is getting wings.
- "Yôkoso": Japan Zeppelin returns home bit by bit , szon.de from December 11, 2010.
- Schwäbische Zeitung (May 2, 2012, p. 8): Japan-Zeppelin takes off.
- Südkurier (July 15, 2011, p. 20): New Zeppelin NT is taking shape.
- Zeppelin returned from a scientific mission. In: Südkurier of June 29, 2013, p. 34.
- Südkurier (July 8, 2005): Zeppelin NT peeks for precious stones. De Beers explores diamond deposits with an airship - Thomas Brandt is the new head of airship builders
- Südkurier (July 21, 2005): In a few days we are off to Africa / Two-year trip from July 30: Diamanten-Zeppelin does a slimming cure beforehand
- Südkurier (July 27, 2005): A Zeppelin Beyond Africa. The diamond hunt adventure: the journey begins on Sunday - 3000 kilometers across steppes
- Südkurier (July 7, 2005): Zeppelin NT is supposed to search for diamonds in South Africa / Cooperation between Zeppelin airship technology and diamond company DeBeers apparently shortly before the end - two years of test use
- Südkurier (August 6, 2005): Africa Zeppelin on the High Seas
- Südkurier (September 1st, 2005): Zeppelin is now in Africa / Yesterday arrival in Cape Town
- Stuttgarter Nachrichten (November 11, 2005, p. 6): Successful diamond hunt with Zeppelin
- Südkurier (March 30, 2006): Zeppelin NT remains in Africa. The prototype of the airship does not come back - inquiries from the Arab world
- Südkurier (August 5, 2006): Zeppelin NT beats aircraft. Diamond pilots in Botswana surprise geologists from De Beers
- Südkurier (February 5, 2007): De Beers puts Zeppelins in a quandary. Diamond company wants airship for use in Canada - only leasing instead of buying: no money for Zeppelin number 5
- Windhose damaged Zeppelin in Africa , Südkurier from September 21, 2007.
- Membership November 2007, Förderverein Zeppelin-Tourismus e. V.
- Südkurier (January 24, 2006): ZLT manufactures new Zeppelin. Market demand is decisive
- Südkurier (June 26, 2007): Zeppelin NT to the USA. Young company plans to buy
- Südkurier (June 26, 2007): A Zeppelin NT for California. US company Airship Ventures wants to fly an airship over San Francisco
- Südkurier (May 10, 2008): Zeppelin will soon be hovering over San Francisco. US company Airship Ventures and Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH sign purchase agreement.
- Südkurier (April 19, 2008): With helium and 600 HP into the air. 14 SÜDKURIER subscribers visiting the Zeppelin hangar in Friedrichshafen.
- ZLT press release from June 26, 2008.
- Südkurier (September 29, 2008): Zeppelin NT crosses the Atlantic. Airship is transported from Hamburg to the USA by ship.
- Page no longer available , search in web archives:
- Press release ( Memento of September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
- Reutlinger General-Anzeiger (October 15, 2008): Zeppelin arrived in its new home after a voyage.
- Zeppelin NT arrived in the USA ; Press release ZLT Friedrichshafen / Beaumont, Texas, October 14, 2008 PDF accessed on January 10, 2016
- Researchers search for pieces of meteorite by airship , Spiegel Online from May 4, 2012.
- San Francisco Chronicle (November 15, 2012.): Airship Ventures ends operations. , Accessed November 17, 2012.
- Schwäbische Zeitung (November 16, 2012): Setback for Zeppelin: operations in America ceased.
- Südkurier (February 1, 2013 p. 30): Zeppelin Eureka. The Zeppelin Neue Technologie (NT) Eureka is returning to Friedrichshafen. Its future is still unclear.
- http://www.zeppelin-nt.com/de/unternehmen/presse/pressemitteilungen.html?file=files/content/6_0_Unternehmen/6_6_Presse/6_6_1_Pressemitteilungen/downloads/de/2014/2014%2003%20Erster%20Goodyear%20Zeppelin % 20 removes% 20.pdf
- FliegerRevue June 2011, p. 53, Three Zeppelins for Goodyear
- Press release ZLT May 2011, (PDF; 51 kB) ( Memento from September 28, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
- Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung (July 19, 2012): Green light for Zeppelin construction in the USA.
- Schwäbische Zeitung (August 21, 2012): The first Zeppelin delivery is on the way to the USA.
- Südkurier (March 15, 2013, p. 22): Helium for the Zeppelins more and more expensive: Global demand for the noble gas as a coolant in the production of mobile computers is causing prices to rise
- http://www.zeppelin-nt.com/de/unternehmen/presse/pressemitteilungen.html?file=files/content/6_0_Unternehmen/6_6_Presse/6_6_1_Pressemitteilungen/downloads/de/2014/2014%2003%20Erster%20Goodyear%20Zeppelin % 20 removes% 20.pdf
- GOODYEAR BEGINS ASSEMBLY OF FIRST ZEPPELIN NT07 101. The Airship Association, March 22, 2013, accessed March 23, 2013 .
- Katie Byard: Goodyear slowly pieces together its airship future. The Record, April 9, 2013, accessed April 13, 2013 .
- Corporate identity Airship Paris , accessed on October 15, 2012.
- Schwäbische Zeitung (October 13, 2012): French want to buy Zeppelin NT for sightseeing flights
- Südkurier (October 12, 2012): Paris orders new zeppelin
- Südkurier (May 21, 2002): There is always a free place in the Zeppelin. The subject of “fully booked” in Zeppelin tourism has now been put into perspective
- Südkurier (April 16, 2003): With the zeppelin over the region. Sightseeing flights from Freiburg offer heavenly views of the Black Forest and Kaiserstuhl
- Südkurier (January 14, 2004): Almost 17,000 passengers were on board. "Two-ship operation" of the Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei draws a successful balance of the Zeppelin NT 2003.
- Financial Times Deutschland of November 22, 2005.
- Membership circular of the Zeppelin Tourism Association. V. from December 2006.
- Südwest Presse (July 31, 2008, p. 5): Buoyancy for the Zeppelin NT. The Zeppelin NT has been doing its rounds over London for two weeks, advertising airship construction - and hoping for new orders.
- Reutlinger General-Anzeiger (March 13, 2009): Sightseeing flights - Zeppelin on Lake Constance on the upswing. No trace of the crisis.
- Vorarlberger Nachrichten (March 15, 2010): The Zeppelin flying season begins.
- Reutlinger General-Anzeiger (June 24, 2010): 100,000th Zeppelin passenger.
- Schwäbische Zeitung (August 13, 2011, p. 3): Zeppelin NT brings 117,500 passengers to lofty heights.
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (August 26, 2012): The haze of the hour
- More than 24,000 passengers flew with the Zeppelin in 2017 . In: Schwäbische.de . ( schwaebische.de [accessed on November 28, 2017]).
- Almost 25,000 passengers on board. In Südkurier , December 6, 2018. Author abbreviation (kck).
- Jackson, Paul. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 2003-2004 . Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Information Group, 2003, ISBN 0-7106-2537-5 , pp. 764 f.
- Jürgen K. Bock, Berthold Knauer: Lighter than air: transport and carrier systems. Verlag Frankenschwelle, Hildburghausen 2003, ISBN 3-86180-139-6 , p. 471.
- Zeppelin NT - Frequently asked questions: Does the Zeppelin New Technology drive or fly
- Willi Hallmann: Balloons and airships through the ages. Heel Verlag, Königswinter 2002, ISBN 3-89880-013-X , p. 99.
- Bernd Straeter: Zeppelin NT. In: Gabriel Alexander Khoury (Ed.): Airship Technology. Cambridge University Press, New York 2012, 2nd edition, ISBN 1-107-01970-2 , p. 575.
- Jürgen K. Bock, Berthold Knauer: Lighter than air: transport and carrier systems. Verlag Frankenschwelle, Hildburghausen 2003, ISBN 3-86180-139-6 , p. 208 f.
- VDI-Nachrichten (March 1, 2002, p. 14): Zeppelins: There is currently still no basis for close cooperation between Zeppelin NT and Cargolifter. Black numbers in two years
- Südkurier (April 19, 2007): Region is helping to build the fourth Zeppelin NT. ZLT opens hangar during Aero - 86 Improvements for New Airship - first flight in spring 2008.
- Zeppelin flights 30 minutes to 2 hours ( Memento from December 21, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
- Südkurier (December 19, 2009): Proven as a research platform.
- VDI-Nachrichten (September 20, 2002, p. 13): Satellite navigation: The signals of the European Galileo satellites are simulated in a large-scale measurement campaign. At Galileo, technology is more advanced than politics
- Südkurier (November 24, 2006): Zeppelin researches climate change /
- Südkurier (October 9, 2008): Zeppelin NT on an unusual mission. Jülich researchers are investigating the “chemical washing facility” in the lowest layer of the atmosphere.
- Schwäbische Zeitung (November 18, 2011, p. 1): Zeppelin NT flies for climate protection.
- Forschungszentrum Jülich : On the trail of detergents and suspended particles. http://www.fz-juelich.de , November 6, 2015, accessed on April 21, 2017 .
- Südkurier (October 20, 2010): Zeppelin NT as a flying laboratory. New measuring method for remote sensing of water surfaces tested with Zeppelin NT.
- Zeppelin NT on a research trip. In: Südkurier of April 17, 2013
- Zeppelin supports tests for coastal and border protection Südkurier from July 26, 2013 online version , accessed on January 9, 2017.
- Ocean clockwork. Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht Center for Material and Coastal Research GmbH, accessed on June 20, 2016 .
- Research by zeppelin: Team examines ocean eddies in the Baltic Sea. June 19, 2016. Retrieved June 20, 2016 .
- Rheinische Post (June 9, 2006): Research project
- Soccer - traffic data acquisition from the air during the Soccer World Cup. Retrieved December 29, 2013 .
- Rheinische Post (June 9, 2006): “Giant cigar” sees everything
- Südkurier (June 12, 2006): Big Brother for World Cup fans. Traffic warning system Soccer is supposed to protect the caravans to the stadiums from traffic jams
- Südkurier (August 13, 2001): Thinking about a 100-meter airship is approaching. Concept study for the larger Zeppelin NT is being prepared - shareholders will decide in the coming year
- Südkurier (April 25, 2003): Bold idea inspires airmen / Larger zeppelins are supposed to connect ten cities in Europe - 408 million euros needed
- Südkurier (April 9, 2005): There is a crash between the Zeppeliners. Dispute between Zeppelin airship technology and the Zeppelin Tourism Association for a large airship
- History of LTA Technologie AG , accessed on September 4, 2012.
- Stuttgarter Nachrichten (November 9, 2004, p. 6): Zeppelin is to take more passengers
- Darmstädter Echo (January 6, 2005): A thick ship for the air
- Usinger Anzeiger (March 9, 2005): With the Zeppelin over Rhine-Main - Wiesbaden company wants to start regular airship flight operations from spring 2008
- Wiesbadener Kurier (March 9, 2005): Airships daily over Rhein-Main Wiesbadener LTA Technologie wants to earn money with regular sightseeing flights from 2008 onwards
- Südkurier (February 15, 2005): 19-seater Zeppelin is built. Development approved for larger airship - more economical to operate
- Südkurier (April 22, 2005): "Luftschiffer, unite". ZLT should cooperate - research institute?
- Südkurier (October 7, 2005): Is there a fourth small zeppelin coming? / Airship: Study for the construction of another 12-seater - start of construction for 19-seater is delayed
- Volker Geiling: The fifth Zeppelin has space for 14 passengers. Annual General Meeting of the Zeppelin Tourism Association in Constance - New passenger handling in the hangar will be completed in September . In: Südkurier of May 11, 2009.
- Manfred Bauer: Airship hangars in Friedrichshafen. 2nd expanded edition, Friedrichshafen 2001, ISBN 3-86136-069-1 .
- Südkurier (April 12, 2008): Win an exclusive factory tour. Seven SÜDKURIER readers get a tour of the Zeppelin hangar - managing director Thomas Brandt with them.
- Südkurier (March 8, 2002): The future of the zeppelin. There are orders
- Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH: Zeppelin NT - shipyard tours . Information sheet from March 1, 2009.