I rode with Ian Skippen, Greg "Marto" Martin, Greg "Sully" Sullivan and Georgina McEncroe as part of a promotion with the Cage Breakfast show on Triple M.
The Holden Airship is an A170 Lightship and was launched in August 2006. It is one of the biggest aircrafts in the world and incorporates some world-first technology - namely, the massive 21.3m x 9.1m screen on it's side which is made up of almost 370,000 LED lights and can display moving footage or scrolling text which can be seen up to 1km away.
The passenger compartment (gondola) can accommodate four passengers as well as the pilot, the screen operator and another crew member. A PDF of the airship specs are available here.
We took off from Archefield airport cruising slowly north over the city and across the northern suburbs and back again over a total flying time of two hours. Flying in the airship was quite unique as I felt particularly susceptible to the elements. The pilot plays a continuous juggling act counteracting the wind with the 'wheels' located on either side of his chair.
Besides the noise of the two propellors, the ride is quite smooth in the absense of the sudden jolting movements associated with a normal aircraft. Instead, the cabin gently sways and lolls about as the giant 'balloon' is pushed around by the wind. A couple of times we tipped forward almost 45° which was quite unsettling! Overall however, it was an awesome ride.
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