You still see airplanes and jets in the sky, but an airship is a rare sight these days.
The story of the airship
Airships, or dirigible balloons, are lighter-than-air aircraft that operate on a lifting gas that is less dense than the surrounding air, keeping them afloat. The three main types of airships are rigid, semi-rigid, and non-rigid. Non-rigid airships are what people commonly call airships. Airships depend on internal pressure to maintain their shape. RIBs also rely on internal pressure to maintain their shape, but the structure is also supported by a metal keel at the bottom of the structure. Rigid airships, also called zeppelins, have a structural frame that retains shape, and the lift gas is contained in one or more cells inside the airship. The first steam-powered airship made its first flight in September 1852. Fifty-one years before the Wright brothers’ first flight, airships claimed to be the future of air travel. Here are some other amazing inventions that changed the world.
“Airships or zeppelins were used primarily for military and civilian purposes, including transatlantic travel,” says Jennifer Wilnechenko, editor of travel site Etia.com. “In 1925, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company began building airships of the dirigible type. These aircraft were used for publicity and military purposes (such as surveillance and anti-submarine warfare) throughout World War II. World War. Over time, aircraft and helicopter technology continued to advance and began to become the most popular mode of air transport. The decline of airships then accelerated after several accidents, most notably the German airship Hindenburg, which caught fire while landing in New Jersey in 1937, killing 35 people on board.
Why You Don’t See Airships Anymore
While the Hindenburg accident marked the end of airships as a means of public transport, they were still used at times when the ability to hover for a long time outweighed the need for speed and maneuverability. And, in the modern era, airships were used for “advertising, freight transport, tourism, camera platforms for sporting events, geological surveys, aerial observation, prohibition, advertising, TV coverage, tourism and some research purposes,” says Wilnechenko. But more recently, you hardly ever see them in the sky. For another blast from the past, this could be why you no longer see PlayPlaces at McDonald’s.
The main reason you never see airships in the sky again is because of the huge costs it takes to build and operate them. They are very expensive to build and very expensive to fly. Airships require a large amount of helium, which can cost up to $100,000 for one trip, according to Wilnechenko. And helium prices keep rising due to a global helium shortage. It’s no small feat to ride one either. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, only 128 people in the United States are qualified to fly airships. And only 17 of them are paid to do it full time. On average, it takes pilots ten to fifteen hours to learn to fly a single-engine aircraft. But for a pilot to make his first solo trip in an airship, it takes 250 to 400 hours of training.
Another main reason is the technical progress of drones. They have become much more reliable over the past few years and are an easier and cheaper way to capture things from an aerial view. Today the consensus is that there are still about 25 airships in existence and only about half of them are still used for advertising purposes. So if you ever see an airship hovering overhead, know that it’s a rare sight to behold. Another rare sight these days? Alarm clocks, stereos and DVD players: just some of the things in your home that won’t exist in 10 years.