100 years ago, BLIMPS were a regular sight in the sky, but not any more. How many are left in the world now, and why did they disappear? Here is everything you need to know.
How Many Blimps Are There In The World?
Only half of the approximately 25 blimps that are still in existence in 2021 are still in use.
As a result, it’s unusual to see one float above you.
What Exactly Are Blimps?
A blimp is a form of airship that is maintained in the air by the pressure of a lifting gas, such as helium or hydrogen.
The first blimp was built in 1852, and until 1937, paid passengers could use them as a form of transportation.
During World War II, they were also employed for surveillance purposes.
They are primarily used for advertising these days.
The History Of The Blimp
Airships, also known as dirigible balloons, are heavier-than-air aircraft that float thanks to a lifting gas that is less dense than the air around it. Airships can be classified as rigid, semi-rigid, or non-rigid. Blimps are the name given to non-rigid airships. Internal pressure is how blimps keep their shape. Although the structure is also maintained by a metal keel at the bottom of the structure, semi-rigid airships also depend on internal pressure to keep their shape. Zeppelins and rigid airships both have a structural framework that maintains their shape and contains the lifting gas in one or more cells. In September 1852, the first steam-powered airship made its first flight. Blimps advertised themselves as the air transportation of the future, 51 years before the Wright brothers made their first flight. Here are a few more incredible inventions that have impacted society.
The editor of the travel website Etia.com, Jennifer Wilnechenko, claims that blimps and zeppelins were largely employed for transatlantic travel as well as military and civilian uses. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company started constructing blimp-style airships in 1925. Throughout World War II, these aircraft were utilized for both military (such as surveillance and anti-submarine warfare) and commercial objectives. But as time passed, helicopter and airplane technology advanced and began to overtake them as a preferred means of air travel. A series of catastrophes followed, most notably the 1937 explosion and fire aboard the German airship Hindenburg as it touched down in New Jersey, hastening the decline of airships.
Why You Rarely See Airships At All Anymore
Airships were utilized occasionally when the capacity to hover for an extended period of time exceeded the necessity for speed and maneuverability, even though the Hindenburg tragedy put an end to their usage as a form of public transportation. Additionally, according to Wilnechenko, blimps were utilized in the modern era for “advertising, freight transportation, tourism, camera platforms for sporting events, geological surveys, aerial observation, interdiction platforms, advertising, TV coverage, tourism, and certain research reasons.” But as of late, you hardly ever see them in the sky. This may be the reason PlayPlaces are no longer available in McDonald’s, for another throwback.
The fact that building and operating airships is so expensive is the fundamental reason why you never longer see them in the skies. Both building and flying them are incredibly expensive. According to Wilnechenko, helium can cost up to $100,000 for one trip and is needed in vast quantities by airships. Due to a global helium shortage, helium prices have continued to rise. Flying one is likewise no easy task. Only 128 Americans, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, are authorised to pilot airships. Of those, only 17 are paid to work at it full-time. Pilots typically need ten to fifteen hours to learn how to fly a single-engine aircraft. However, a pilot must complete 250–400 hours of instruction before doing their first airship journey alone.
The development of drone technology is another important factor. They are now considerably more dependable and offer a quicker and more affordable option to take pictures from the air. According to current estimates, there are roughly 25 blimps remaining in operation, with only about half of them still being used for advertising. In light of this, keep in mind that seeing a blimp floating above you is unusual. another uncommon sight in today’s world? Alarm clocks, stereos, and DVD players are just a few examples of household items that won’t be around in ten years.
Why Are Blimps No Longer Used?
The high cost of building and operating blimps is the main reason they are no longer used.
Since the ships require a lot of helium, a single journey may cost £70,000.
Additionally, pilots need to complete more than 400 hours of training before they can operate a blimp.
Only 128 people in the entire United States, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, are authorized to pilot airships.
The development of drones is another factor in the decline of blimps today.
Drones can now be used to collect photographs or video from above, like blimps once did.
How much does a blimp cost?
A big certified blimp typically costs between £1.2 and £1.5 million.