back to article Airship race round the world planned for 2011

A Texan businessman bidding to organise a year-long round the world race for airships says he is on track to start the inaugural event next year. Among those lending their names to the project is aerospace bigwig Norm Augustine, who headed President Obama's panel examining the US manned space programme last year. The …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. disgruntled yank


    'Hartsell would no doubt point out that the zeppelin stayed well north of the Equator during her famous "Weltfahrt" ("world journey") and covered less than 22,000 miles as a result.'

    It has been a while since geography class, but I thought I recalled Greenwich as being on the zero meridian, not the Equator.

    In an ADHD age, I have a hard time imagining this event holding everyone's interest. Perhaps Mr. Hartsell can arrange that reporters will telegraph in messages from the various stopping points, enabling boys to sell special editions of the newspapers on the street corners. I'd offer to donate a manual typewriter to the cause, but I don't know where mine got to.

    Hydrogen is also not the only hazard to the lighter-than-air craft. The US Navy wrecked all its zeppelins back in the 1920s.

    1. smudge
      Paris Hilton

      Your memory is fine, but....

      Greenwich is indeed on the zero meridian - some even call it the Greenwich meridian - but I completely fail to see the connection between your comment and the piece of the article that you have quoted.

      Paris, because the French wanted the prime meridian to go through her^H^H^H it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Quite simple really

        The Graf's trip took place well north of the Equator, so will this race. Therefore neither of them will make the longest possible round-the-world trip. So the claim that this is the first round the world trip by airship is also false.

      2. Kubla Cant

        Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest


        Read the article. It says: "competing ships set off from the zero meridian in London before progressing round the world in an easterly direction".

        An easterly direction from Greenwich runs approximately round the parallel at 51°N, so it's a great deal shorter than a great circle. At a guess, it's also shorter than the Graf Zeppelin's route.

  2. Graham Bartlett

    Winds, gasbags and mileage

    A number of years ago now, Dickie Branson got across the Atlantic in a completely unpowered ballon. It had a slight amount of difficulty on landing (touchdown in water was not too clever), but it covered several thousand miles in one shot with absolutely no need to tie up to a mast at night.

    The reason to moor up at night is to *stop* it going anywhere. If you actually do want to be going somewhere, then no worries. Like satellites, the problem is not so much keeping them going - it's keeping them going in the direction *you* want them to go. So all that fuel will be used solely for manoevering you into the right airstream (up/down/sideways). I can see this working out very much like the round-the-world yacht races, where the most important thing is predicting what the wind's going to do.

    1. VeganVegan
      Paris Hilton

      Headed east

      Bartlett, esq. is correct. It's sensible to head East, to take advantage of the westerlies, but only if you fly at the correct altitude to catch them. If successful, this can significantly increase the speed / decrease the fuel needed.

      It would be incomparably more difficult if the airships had to head west around the world.

      (Paris, as she knows a thing or two about blowing)

  3. shay mclachlan

    Say it aint so

    French electropop titan Jean-Michel Jarre - a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador - will also be lending his talents as the race's "artistic director".

    Please god no. Anything but him.

    1. Richard IV

      Why not?

      As I remember it, Jarre's shows feature lots of lasers. What's not to like about laser touting airships?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Exactly my thoughts

      Jean-Michel Jarre's music is like Beethoven in lycra with pink boots... just painful.

      1. Kubla Cant

        Atmospheric music

        A long, long time ago, it used to be possible to phone Microsoft UK for support.

        For some reason they used a track by Jean-Michel Jarre as hold music - needless to say, you usually had to hang on in a queue for an hour or two. The problem was that you could never be sure whether you were still holding, or whether you'd been disconnected and were just hearing random noise on the line.

  4. Dr Insanity
    Paris Hilton

    Time for Vulture 2?

    This looks like the perfect project to expand El Reg's Aerospace engineering portfolio, I'm thinking Paper Airship Racing Internationally at Speed?

    Going by the rate of the sponsers, you've just over a year to get it going - I'll happily volunteer to pilot when the time comes

  5. Captain Underpants
    Thumb Up

    A title, it sez, is required. Why is it required, I sez. I dunno, mate, it sez.

    Personally, I hope this does well.

    Not because I could give a sparrowfart about the race itself, but because it would help further a cause I like in principle but can't usefully further in practice - namely, the future development of Airship Cruises as the next luxury-type holiday. There are companies doing aerial tours on airships at the moment, but they're of the order of a couple of hours - whereas what I'm thinking is a very large airship, flying for 1-2 weeks straight, possibly equipped with a glass-floored viewing room for touristy moments. Sort of like an airborne version of the Orient Express with more spectacular views.

  6. Daedalus

    Watch out fer them hillbillies, especially them eastern ones.

    As the drivers of the various Goodyear blimps know only two well, large gasbags are inviting targets for bearers of any firearm larger than a pistol. They usually expect a few new holes from any cross-country trip in the USA.

    Imagine then the prospects for a whole convoy of dirigibles passing over areas where AK-47's and RPG's are in every backyard shed.

  7. MrT

    JMJ involved?

    So they'll be powered by sonic impulses and steered using laser beams instead of a flight stick, with the control panel styled to look like an ARP2600...

    Will the landing pad feature a giant picture of Charlotte Rampling...?

  8. Mr Mark V Thomas
    Paris Hilton

    Re: JMJ Involved...?

    I doubt it, as reportedly they divorced, several years ago...

    Try a Giant image of Anne Parrillaud-Jarre (the original Nikita) for the landing pad, instead...

    1. MrT
      Thumb Up


      Fairy nuff - and has the plus of tying two threads together with the Nikita connection ;-)

  9. Jerry

    But is it in good style?

    The Graf Zeppelin went around the world with a good set of fine china and silver cutlery. It also had chefs who prepared mighty fine meals, plus a valet who stored essentials such as coats and hats for when needed.

    The proposed contest will no doubt be won by some anorak wearing vegan suspended by hemp ropes from an ecologically sound blimp.

    I can guarantee the Zeppelin journey was a real circumnavigation. What follows is parody.

  10. Adrian Esdaile

    Oh my god, it's full of FAIL!

    Sorry, love the idea of airships but....


    Al Jazeera?

    Jean-Michel Jarre? (earplugs supplied FREE!)

    Nothing in the Southern Hemisphere?

    Your airship are made of fail. Do try not to catch fire or crash in a storm.

  11. Fractured Cell

    Big Brother is watching from above...

    National Geographic, The BBC, CNN, and CCTV will provide coverage of this historic race.

    Wait, what?

    CCTV? Seriously?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Chinese State Television

  12. AceRimmer1980

    The French entry

    will play Zoolook on external speakers, and look like the mothership from 'Close Encounters', or I will be disappointed.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    I wonder...

    So will we finally see a real "dead heat in a Zeppelin race"?

    Sorry, couldn't resist...

  14. andy gibson

    Is this....

    some new Crimson Skies game?

  15. John 62
    Thumb Down


    obviously a race needs a formula for entrants, but I think this one's too restrictive. should be more like the DARPA grand challenge where, beyond some minimum reqs, you can do pretty much what you want.

  16. W. Keith Wingate

    Studio Ghibli as a sponsor?

    After creating dozens of wonderful films for children of all ages, many of them featuring very imaginative airships, I can only imagine that Mr. Hayao Miyazaki might be quite willing to spend a few Yen to make this happen, granted film rights, etc. -- even w/ a JMJ score.

  17. heliumblimp

    Around the world blimp race.

    Hi folks,

    The biggest joke is that all you nay sayers about the World Sky Race do not realise this is going to happen starting next year. I know because I hope to be the lead driver.

    Regards JB

This topic is closed for new posts.