We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Are Airships Making a Comeback?

Michael Anissimov
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The first powered, controlled flight in history is credited to the airship. On September 24th, 1852, Henri Giffard, a Frenchman, travelled 27 km (16.7 miles) from Paris to Trappes in his steam-powered airship. More than 50 years before the Wright Brothers' historic flight, Giffard's flight is remembered less often because of the slow speed of airships relative to aeroplanes.

In 1900, the flight of the rigid-shelled LZ1 Luftschiff Zeppelin marked the beginning of the first Golden Age of Airships. This continued until 1937, when the Hindenburg - the largest aircraft ever built at 250 meters long (820 feet) - burst into flames, and accompanied by much dramatic media attention, brought the downfall of public faith in airships. Although airships meant to carry civilians were not manufactured after the disaster of the Hindenburg, the United States military has built several hundred airships throughout the 20th century, used for paratrooper training and convoy escort.

In 1997, the airship made a slight comeback, with the launch of the Zeppelin NT. The new airship was created by Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH (ZLG), based in Friedrichshafen, Germany. ZLG was founded in 1993 as a spinoff from the original champions of the Golden Age of Airships, the Zeppelin company. Three Zeppelin NTs have since been made, used so far only for joyrides and advertising space. One has been sold to a Japanese company.

The Zeppelin NT, being built on the foundation of 60 years of additional technological advancements, is vastly superior to its predecessors both in terms of safety and cost. Instead of having a rigid all-aluminum frame, the NT uses a semi-rigid frame made primarily out of carbon fiber, with girders of aluminum. 75 meters long (246 feet) and only 1000 kilograms (2200 pounds), the NT is filled with the non-flammable, non-reactive gas, helium. With maximum payload and a full fuel tank, the NT is not quite lighter-than-air, resulting in a net downward force of about 600 kg (1,323 pounds), which is negated by tilting the propellers slightly downward during level flight.

The airship has a top speed of 125 km/h (77 mph), with 70 km/h (44 mph) being a more typical cruising speed for tourist flights. It is capable of traveling about 900km (560 miles) without refueling, and staying aloft for almost 24 hours. Commercial flights are offered by the DZR, a subsidiary of ZLG. Several dozen flights per year operate around Lake Constance, which is adjacent to the city of Friedrichshafen. The flights range from half an hour to two hours, at a cost of approximately 150 euros per hour.

The Zeppelin NT may just be the beginning of a new Golden Age of Airships. Engineers and researchers around the world have begun to turn their attention back to airships since the successful 1997 flight. Advances in fabrics, solar/fuel-cells, and batteries will soon make airships into attractive platforms for observation and telecommunications. Only a few times slower than airplanes, airships may one day be reemployed as a low-cost means of transporting goods and passengers around the world. One might speculate that hundreds of new airships will be manufactured before 2020 arrives.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.
Discussion Comments
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology...
Learn more
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.