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Mon, Oct 20, 2008

Up Ship! Airship Ventures Zeppelin Embarks On Cross-Country Flight

Departing Beaumont TX For New Home At Moffett Field In Mountain View, CA

ANN received word this weekend that the Airship Ventures Zeppelin NT is on its way from Texas to California, and so far all is going well.

"The airship left San Antonio (Sunday) morning at 9:44 am local time. With his wife's permission, we dedicated this transit to the memory of Steve Fossett," a release from Airship Ventures said. "You can follow the progress on the website under 'track the ship' which updates the position every 30 minutes."

Brian Hall, president of Airship Ventures, is "on board and sending images with his iPhone straight to the blog. If you happen to live along the route, keep an eye out and send us your sightings as we're posting those too."

The Zeppelin NT07 airship, carrying up to 12 passengers, will be the largest airship flying in the US. The Zeppelin NT ("New Technology") was manufactured in Germany by Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH. At 246 feet in length, it is more than 50 feet longer than the largest blimp.

As ANN reported, the Airship Ventures Zeppelin was transported on its trans-oceanic crossing aboard the 530 foot-long container ship "Combi Dock I" from Hamburg, Germany to Beaumont, TX.

One of only three Zeppelins in the world, and the first to come to the USA, the airship was off-loaded at the Port of Beaumont and will be flown cross country to its permanent home at historic Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.

After departing from Beaumont TX,  the journey will take the airship westward through San Antonio, and Ft. Stockton, TX, to Deming, NM, Tucson, AZ, Palm Springs, and Salinas, CA.

Along the route, the airship will cross the Continental Divide in New Mexico, and the San Bernardino Mountains at Banning Pass in California. In its final leg, around October 25, the Zeppelin will travel up the coast over the Golden Gate Bridge.

This historic flight will mark the first time in 71 years that a Zeppelin has flown in the skies over the United States.

This landmark transit flight will also be dedicated to the memory of aviation adventurer Steve Fossett, who set the airship speed record in the Zeppelin -- a record that still stands today.

Says Steve Fossett's widow Peggy Fossett, "I am honored that Airship Ventures would dedicate this flight to Steve's memory. He was truly proud to have been part of the Zeppelin project."

Kate Board, the world's first female Zeppelin pilot, added, "Steve Fossett was such a hero to me, and more so once he flew the Zeppelin. I'm sure he would have wanted to fly a leg of this transit with us!"

Once in the San Francisco Bay Area, the airship will offer the only passenger airship flight service in America. "Flightseeing" tours will be offered from several Bay Area locations, showcasing the San Francisco Bay/Silicon Valley, Sonoma/Napa wine regions, and Monterey/Big Sur coastline.

The spacious cabin comfortably accommodates the pilot, flight attendant, and up to 12 passengers with luxury features including oversized panoramic windows, an onboard restroom with window, and a unique 180-degree rear observation window and "love seat" that wraps the entire aft end of the cabin.

Round-trip rides from historic Moffett Field will begin in late October 2008, with flights from Oakland International and Sonoma County Airport starting in November. Tickets start at $495 per person. Packages are available for group charters, corporate events, and custom tours.

The airship will also be used for a variety of technological and scientific research missions.

FMI: www.airshipventures.com

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