Z-Day 2

So here is my long-delayed post on the Leviathan-researching Zeppelin ride.

To ride a Zeppelin, one must travel to Friedrichshafen, Germany. That’s the very town where Count Ferdinand Zeppelin set up shop about 100 years ago, having decided to blow his retirement fund on building giant airships full of hydrogen. (Coincidentally, this is what I plan to do with my retirement fund.) As you saw from two posts ago, this town is Zeppelin-themed to the max. The museum there is amazing, and I took loads of photos for the artist I’m working with on Leviathan, but let’s skip that and go straight to the Zeppelin ride.

The day started with a wake-up call from Zeppelin HQ. The weather was crappy, so they’d canceled our flight (heart stops in chest) but were putting us on an earlier one (heart restarts).

We only had a few hours to have breakfast and attack the Zeppelin Museum before showing up at the airfield.

Of course, the moment our taxi came within sight of the hangar, I started geeking out, and thus many photos were taken:

This hangar is big, by the way. The Zeppelin itself is 75 meters (240 feet) long. That’s less than a third of old-school Zeps like the Hindenburg or Graf Zeppelin, but the hangar is still an impressive sight.

As we drew nearer, every little sign made me happy:

Zeppelin Fluge! I’m about to fluge in a frickin’ Zeppelin!

The place where you wait for your flight is a sort of tent-like temp building with a cafe inside:

It was far superior to the average airport lounge, I assure you. For one thing, the outside cafe had a view of the giant doors of the Zeppelin hangar:

Perhaps I will move ahead, skipping past the next roughly twelve hundred photos to the part where we see the actual ZEPPELIN.

But first: they gave us a quick wave of a metal-detecting wand for regulations’ sake. (You know, in case one of us were to hijack the Zeppelin with, say, our fingernail clippers and fly it—oh, so slowly—into a crowd of innocent people where its deadly load of the dreaded element helium would make them all talk funny . . . um, you get the idea.) Then we had a quick run-down on safety procedures; as the only English speakers, Justine and I had a private session.

Finally, we were taken out onto the airfield to await the return of the airship from its previous flight . . .

Wait! Look!

Yes, that’s it. Circling around to land straight into the wind. (And no, those cranes are not Zeppelin-related. They just made a nice composition.)

In this next shot you can see how small the gondola is compared to the rest of the ship. That’s the thing about Zeppelins: it takes lots of helium, or hydrogen, to lift one person. So, yes, those kids’ books in which handfuls of toy balloons lift people off their feet? Damnable lies!

This 75-meter Zep carries only 12 people—plus the flight gear, engines, and fuel, of course.

As it comes in quite close, check out the tilt rotors on the side. Those two engines (and two more at the rear) can angle in whatever direction the pilot wants.

Here, as you can see, they’re tilted up to slow the airship’s descent:

Then the airship “landed,” sort of. Being aerostatic (the same density as the air around it) a Zeppelin never really settles on the ground. It just bounces to a stop on its single wheel, balancing there and pirouetting with the wind like some graceful, ballet-loving whale.

To keep it steady, one guy holds a rope hanging from its front end.

(Yes, that’s a really short movie. But I’m in a hotel room where the internets are slow.)

At this point, they asked me to please put my camera away and maybe pay attention, because we were about to board. Switching out passengers is a bit tricky, because you have to keep the airship aerostatic. So the de-Zepping passengers can’t just walk off all at once. For every two people who get off, two have to get on, keeping the weight the same throughout the procedure.

So no more pictures for, like, sixty seconds, until we were aboard.

Here’s what it looks like from the inside:

I’m in the last row, so that’s about everyone: ten passengers and two flight crew. (The woman standing was both tour guide and co-pilot.) Every seat is an aisle and a window seat, and those windows are huge. Basically, you’re flying in a big wrap-around picture window, which bubbles out so you can look straight down if you want to:

By the way, we’re flying over Lake Constance, between Germany and Switzerland.

Here’s the Zeppelin’s flight control panel, covered with what are technically known as das blinken-lightz:

Love that little Zep silhouette at the bottom. This control panel would totally pass muster in a James Bond movie.

Okay, so I have to pause in the blogging now. I’ll be showing you more of this flight later, revealing the many wonders seen from the air (not to mention the cool landing protocols). But uploading all this stuff on hotel wi-fi is, like, a total waste of Paris-time.

So one more aerial vista, and I’m out of here:

Beautiful, yes? But rest assured, the best is yet to come . . .

175 thoughts on “Z-Day 2

  1. …i’m eating a strawberry cheesequake (yes it is actuall quake. not cake.) blizard from DQ. es muy delicioso!

  2. haha i love DQ the ice cream place and my friend goes by DQ(his intials) and hes like my bff πŸ˜€

    is it me or are comments moving kinda slow??

  3. Oh, Scott, you’re such a geek. Zeppelins are cool, though. Next time you fly in one, TAKE ME WITH YOU!

  4. Je m’ennuie ainsi en ce moment pour que soient pourquoi je parle dans la droite française ne faites-y maintenant ainsi aucune attention si vous ne pouvez pas le comprendre, mais si vous pouvez alors cela ΓƒΒͺtre fabuleux! Hou la, je dois recevoir une vie…

  5. me. but your probably long gone and i’m going too cuz it’s like 12:48 a.m. here. and yeah. homeworks done. so i can sleep. πŸ˜€

  6. oooooooooooooooooooo u have school this week? haha i don’t!!! hee hee april vacation!!!! :mrgreen: u see we don’t have spring break in march, but we have feb. and april break, so ya i’m good….heeeheee :mrgreen:
    it’d be cool to have a brother on a major league team….owell tho. his decision not mine….
    i saw a tshirt yesterday that said “i support two teams: boston and whoever beats new york” hee heee i luv that!

  7. we don’t get many breaks at all. like this entire month we had one day off…and that was considered our “spring break” and last month we had 2 days off. but now all we have is 18 more days of school! (not counting weekends.) then summer break!!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ which is 3 months long. how much time do you guys get for summer break? …do you go year round? …cuz my cousins do and they get like a few weeks off at a time then go to school for a few weeks and ect.

    so guess what… the world is becoming even more like Uglies! my mom was watching Oprah and they showed this really fawesome smart house. (i know there are movies kinda like this and everything but this is for real. crazy. huh?) yeah so she called me down to watch like 10 minutes of it and it was amazing. and the room says goodnight to you… just like in Uglies. there’s like this satellite woman or whatever that takes care of the house and stuff. and there is this supper fawesome shower that i want! it like has like 5 sprayers in it and it’s like a spa and you can set your water temp and the pressure and you put your iPod in this little holder and it plays your music inside the shower. ugh. someday i’ll buy one! heres the link if ya wanna check it out: http://www2.oprah.com/foodhome/home/decorating/slide/20080425/decor_20080425_350_301.jhtml

  8. It’s so pretty there…that is the coolest thing ever! Wouldn’t you just love to live in that castle! Anyways my school just took a trip there too and the people in german class who went said it’s pretty…Well i hope you realy enjoyed it Scott, and hope you got some good ideas πŸ˜‰

  9. I thought I made a comment on here already…I swear, it was here before…oh. I remember. My computer crashed before i posted it.

    crap. oh, well. I just said something about the awesome zeppelin ride, how cool it would be to be able to do that. And also about how beautiful the last picture was. is. whatever.

  10. AHHH! I’m back! Did you guys miss me?!?! I missed you!!!

    the trip was over all booooooring! Yesterday on the way back to my city it was a 6 hour bus ride. OMG! Talk about bored. We watched 4 movies, sang tons of songs, and didn’t have any dinner. Or water. Yep. I was starving. Lets just say, out of the whole trip (3 days) we went to 10 places. Not towns or cities, 10 little camps and restaurants. The rest of the time we were riding on the bus.

    I would have rather stay here than go. Lets just put it hat way. But o well, at least i didn’t have school!

  11. Bran-la – Ambition is out online now. at amazon and some other one. my mom ordered it for me yesturday. πŸ˜€ so hopefully i’ll get it like monday or tuesday. πŸ˜€ …i can’t wait it’s gonna be so fawesome!

  12. woah smart house….that would scare the living crap outta me. my biggest fear is robots and non living things that talk but for some reason the stuff in uglies didn’t bother me…hmm i never even thought of that until now…weird..

  13. I have this issue where I look at all of the possibilities and that is why I don’t like things like rides or jumping off the diving board or… you know stuff like that.

    I love Superman/Tom Welling!!!!

  14. oh my name on my site is Owlstar and u can post in the Advertise~Affiliate section about Leviathan since thats the only guest friendly board

  15. I really don’t know what Levaithan is I was wondering what it was too.

    I love Superman/Tom Welling!!!!

  16. That looks amazingly awesome! Now I want to try a zepplin ride someday too… hopefully in the near future πŸ™‚

    Smallville (I’m assuming that’s where you’re getting the Tom Welling = Superman reference?) is an awesome show!

    The controls /are/ just like James Bond. Wonder if there’s a new movie coming out anytime soon, along the lines of Casino Royale?

  17. So I’m just wondering but am I the only person that goes through tons of drama?!?! So ur wondering what I, bran-la, could have possibly gone threough now! Ok ill make it simple. My friend ditched me to become popular. A more popular crowd invited her to hang with them and she said it was her “dream” so she hopes we could still be friends. Yeah, w/e she made it clear we were never friends. So now I have no one. What’s my pay back? (I always have somthing) to make sure evertone at school knows what she did. Cause to me that would make ppl wonder what kind of person she really was. Isn’t that enough pay back? I mean….I was crying like crazy when I found out!

  18. Just, don’t let people get the wrong idea about you for spreading around what she did…and no, you are not the only one with drama. You just….vent about it more….

  19. Haha. People won’t get the wrong idea about me. I’m sure. Because I am really only telling people who ask why we don’t hang out. And it will be obvious. I mean one day she’s with me all day and the next day she’s with….someone else? I’m sure ill get questions as to why….

    Urg I have to fill out a packet about what I “learned” on my trip. I didn’t learn anything exceptthat 4 hours without water is horrible in hot weather!!!

  20. my mom all ways says to me “ah U are one wise grasshopper” juust cause she feels like it……

  21. 2day we were at a party thing at my cousins’ house, and i was walking to our car, reading uglies (yes–u know i’m a bookworm when i can safely manuver around things while absorbed in a good book) and two of my cousins (both a couple years older than me and boys) were on the trampoline, and one of them threw his sneaker at me and it hit me square on the shoulder. HARD! ouch. srsly. sigh. we bookworms get so neglected. i just said ‘hey!’ and the other cousin said ‘y’d u throw it at her?’ so ya twas sorta…interesting. i dunno y he threw it at me, tho….hmmm…and so it begins.
    i really shoulda like pounded him tho. or not even turned around, acting like it hadn’t happened. i like annoying my family!! hehe (evil chuckle) :mrgreen:

  22. Well don’t feel bad. My sister has read like half of the books in our school’s library. One time she was walking and reading. Well there is this chain at school to keep people from driving up that way. She tripped right over it. At the tiem she was reading Eragon and when it hte ground it made this big sound and ever1 thought it was her face that made that sound. I couldn’t help but laugh. My family is kind of clutsy. I have never biffed while reading a book… Nor has any1 thrown a shoe at me.lol

    I love Superman/Tom Welling!!!!

  23. Can’t be worse than the numerous times I’ve nearly walked into a pole even without being immersed in a book. πŸ™‚

  24. i dont have to be into a book to trip im just a klutz all together though reading a book doesnt really help the situaltion. and it seems i cant go through one pe class without getting hit in the head unless it like weight room or run day where we dont use dangorus equipment.
    does anyone know a good website to make a blog im lookin to start one

  25. have you ever thought about turnin ur books into movie? i think they would be great movies. i just started reading your books not too long ago..i picked up uglies two weeks ago n finsished it in one week, then right away i got the next one n just finished it the other day. im waiting to go shoppn so i can get ur 3rd one. I love them so much n would love to see a movie of them..oh i also love ur type of writing style. me myself is aslo a (young) writer. im starting a book and would love some tips!

  26. Is anyone else excited for the release of “The Host” by Stephenie Meyer? I am going to have to hurry up and read the books that I am reading ( which are the Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix, I have read them once before, but you know how that goes. )

    May 6th — yay

  27. Oh! I am. It comes out the day before my birthday so I’m going to have to wait a day…I don’t know if I can though. I might try and find it…[;

  28. guess what guys… today is my birthday! 15! i get my drivers permit on Thursday! πŸ˜€

    spanish was funny today. we played human tic-tac-toe and it was like you had to write the right answer on the board then if you got it correct you could go pick a spot on the tic-tac-toe board. and it was girls v guys and we kicked their butts! they didn’t even get one point. so then this one guy who is all upset said “I don’t like girls!” and everyone just cracks up laughing and then he’s like “No, no I like girls!! I like them a lot!” it was funny. i don’t know maybe you had to be there. took me a minute to get it though. lol.

  29. Happy B-day! So exciting…..15……permit……driving. Yep. Funner than you know other ages *cough* 13 *cough*. Ok, so i was inspired by a certain someone on this blog to write a poem about me feelings. So here it is……on Scott-las blog. (hope its good!)

    She stood by the desk
    Just looking at me.
    I knew what she had done
    So i sat quietly.
    I miss her so much
    But she had just gone.
    Ive wanted her back
    Shes known all along.
    Even though she hurt me.
    Even though i cried.
    I hoped that one day
    Shed come back to my side.

    and im talking about my friend in here. and i tried to rhyme it as much as i could or at least make it SEEM like a poem but who knows……im only a poet in training!

    Is it good? Huh-huh? How was it?

  30. Haha. It is funny Kay-wa. I could imagine it happening.

    How many of you can type without looking at the key board. I cant. I have to look at it but i type fast. Just…..while looking at the keyboard.

    Read me ‘poem’ if you didnt!

  31. i like it Bran-la!! foolio! don’t you love how therapeutic poetry is? i do! i write some. and thanks! definitely looking forward to driving! the first chapter of Ambition is up! πŸ˜€ ..i just read it. it was good. and now i am excited! i ordered it on amazon on Friday so i could get it early. now i just got to wait till the amazing ups guy brings it to me! πŸ˜€

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