Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Keep Looking Up, It's a Blimp

Sometimes it pays to look up.Yesterday off in the distance I saw an odd shaped item getting closer and closer. When I noticed it was a blimp I grabbed my camera to take a photo. The navy blimp was flying right over Lecanto, Florida about 2 pm yesterday. Even though it looked like it was going slow compared to a plane, I barely had time to get a few photos before it moved out of sight. The wind was blowing from the southwest and it was helping propel the blimp forward at a goodly rate of speed.

Later Gary told me he heard on the news the Navy blimp will be flying over Florida for several months. Apparently a blimp is considered a cost efficient or 'green' air reconnaissance method of transportation. A blimp, or airship, uses approximately 10 to 12 gallons of fuel per  hour compared to a jet or airplane that's a very small amount of fuel. When a blimp or airship is mentioned people usually think of the Hindenburg disaster but airships are no longer filled with hydrogen but instead now use helium which isn't flammable.

Before and during World War II airships were used for anti submarine detection in patrolling both the Atlantic and Pacific ocean areas. After fifty years the Navy has resumed the airship programSome interesting facts from wikipedia for the navy blimp are:

General characteristics
  • Crew: 9-10
  • Length: 251 ft 8 in (76.73 m)
  • Diameter: 57 ft 10 in (17.63 m)
  • Volume: 425,000 ft3 (12,043 m3)
  • Useful lift: 7,770 lb (3,524 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-2 radials, 425 hp (317 kW) each each
  • Maximum speed: 78 mph (125 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 58 mph (93 km/h)
  • Range: 2,205 miles (3,537 km)
  • Endurance: 38 hours  12 min

In this photo is the gondola where the crew of the airship are located. For more information and animated diagrams about airship parts and propulsion please check out the link to How Stuff Works information about blimps. Keep looking up, you never know what you might see or learn. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Hello Linda:
    What a very splendid and informative post. Before now we had never heard an airship referred to as a 'blimp' which, we imagine, must be a particularly American term. But what fun it is.

  2. I didn't know the Navy had blimps! Also didn't know they moved that fast. When you are on the ground they do appear to be going so slow. I haven't seen one in a number of years.

  3. A fun and informative post, Linda. I've always wanted to ride in a blimp. Some of our Navy friends have and say it's an amazing experience.

  4. How neat that you got to see a blimp! I think I saw one when U was very younf and we were still living in the mid west! Of course we see them on tv every Superbowl.

  5. The Hindenburg disaster really slowed the blimp business which is part of why they are so interesting to us now. I wish they would come back in style if they save fuel. Kudos to the Navy for using them.

  6. fantastically fun to watch them. You have added so much good information. I also did not know that they are in use for anything but advertising.

  7. I have never seen a blimp except on documentaries. Thank you for this post.

  8. I guess they would be quieter than planes too. I heard somewhere that helium can't be man made and is running out? Hope that's not right as I imagine it would take alot to fill a blimp.

  9. It's pretty bad when blogger looses my own comments on my own blog, bah humbug

    I had a comment to each of you and he was there and now it's gone, what in the heck is happening.

    Maybe it's in the airship?

    anyway thanks for all your comments, I learned so much about blimps just because I saw one.


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