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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Photos: Airships Fly Again After 71 Years

Posted By on Sun, Aug 2, 2009 at 11:40 PM

On a recent sunny afternoon, SF Weekly contributing photographer Tim Wagner headed to Silicon Valley for a tour of Airship Venture's "Eureka," the first lighter-than-air passenger ship to fly in the U.S. after more than 71 years.

click to enlarge TIM WAGNER
  • Tim Wagner
The 246-foot long zeppelin is larger than a Boeing 747 and carries 12 passengers at a cruising speed of 35 mph.

click to enlarge TIM WAGNER
  • Tim Wagner
The cavernous Moffett Field hanger where Eureka is stored dwarfs even the airship. The row of three World War II blimp hangars are still some of the largest unsupported structures in the country.

click to enlarge TIM WAGNER
  • Tim Wagner
Hanger Three's massive doors remain open except during heavy wind and annual maintenance. The airship hangar's interior is so large that fog sometimes forms near the ceiling.
click to enlarge TIM WAGNER
  • Tim Wagner
Airship pilot Jim Dexter and crew chief Matt Smith discuss the day's route for the ship's Geek Tour.
click to enlarge TIM WAGNER
  • Tim Wagner
Ground crew member Matt Nicolary climbs the mast of the 30-ton custom truck to tether Eureka. The truck helps anchor the ship as it floats just above the ground.

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Janine Kahn

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