From first concept, to series production
Chronology of the development of the Zeppelin NT:
Chronology of the development of the Zeppelin NT:
From the 3rd to the 5th September, the JU 52, the centerpiece of the Lufthansa Berlin Foundation’s historic fleet, made a guest appearance in the Zeppelin Hangar in Friedrichshafen. Many visitors attended a Captain’s dinner and special hangar tour.
On the 5th September the 250,000th passenger worldwide flew on the Zeppelin NT.
On the 15th September the Zeppelin NT started it’s tour of Northern Germany. During the Nordbau exhibition, the airship flew for Zeppelin Baumaschinen GmbH in Neumünster, over the exhibition area and also for passenger sightseeing flights over the North Sea island of Sylt. Subsequently, the Zeppelin NT was used by Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht for scientific research flights over the Elbe and the North Sea. At the end of the tour, passengers had the chance to fly over Flensburg.
On the 18th September, 20 years after the first flight of the Zeppelin NT on the 18th September 1997, the airship took off for its anniversary flight. For this flight, the original crew from the first Zeppelin NT flight were on board: Pilot Jesse-Scott Danneker, his Co-Pilot and flight engineer Stefan Unzicker as well as Jürgen Fecher as flight test engineer.
On the 30th September, for the second time, parachutists jumped from the Zeppelin over the hangar in Friedrichshafen.
On the 1st July, Eckhard Breuer took over the role of CEO of ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik and the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei from his longstanding predecessor Thomas Brandt.
On the 8th and 9th July there was a two day Zeppelin Summer Festival at the Hangar, to celebrate the “20th Anniversary of the first flight of the Zeppelin NT”. A varied program, in collaboration with many partners attracted about 5000 visitors.
Both Zeppelin NTs "Baden Württemberg" and "Bodensee" flew to the fireworks at the Seehasenfest in Friedrichshafen on the 15th July, and for the first time to the Uferfest in Langenargen on the 29th July.
From the 21st April to the 2nd May, 40 minute flights took place over Munich.
On the 6th May, the Zeppelin NT flew to the anniversary celebration of the Pestalozzi Kinderdorf in Wahlwies – handing over a check for €35,000 from the proceeds of the Zeppelin Airmail.
The 100th anniversary of the death of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the ingenious and determined airship pioneer, was commemorated with a Zeppelin NT flyby over the Remembrance Service at the cemetery in Stuttgart.
The season begins with a press conference on the 10th March in Friedrichshafen. This season is under the banner “20th Anniversary of the first flight of the Zeppelin NT” – the Zeppelin NT took off for it’s maiden flight in 1997.
Completion of the first Goodyear-Zeppelin in Akron.
End of the flight season.
Total number of flown passengers since 2001: 136,000
Airship Paris charters an airship (SN002R) till 05.10.2013 and performs passenger sightseeing flights from Pontoise to many landmarks around the outskirts of Paris, garnering considerable international media attention.
Big ceremony for the 175th Birthday of Count Zeppelin. Start of the first EU measurement campaign - the I2C Mission (maritime surveillance and Border and coastal protection in the Mediterranean) under the direction of DCNS to Toulon (Hyeres).
First test of a new maritime surveillance radar from Rockwell Collins
Structural assembly of the first Goodyear-Zeppelin completed. After 11 weeks of successful operation in the EU's climate research, "Pegasos" returns safely from Finland.
Start of the third Pegasos mission to Finland.
Airship Ventures stops operating due to a lack of commercial demand in the United States. ZLT buys back SN004.
First parts deliverered to Akron for the final assembly of the first of three Goodyear-Zeppelin airships.
Pegasos Mission to Italy successfully completed.
On Monday, the 11th June 2012 the second data collection campaign for Pegasos begins. The Zeppelin NT flies east of the Alps to the Po Valley. It will be stationed for about 5 weeks in Ozzano, Italy and will take measurements in the region.
On Friday, the 4th May 2012 The project partners of the Pegasos climate research project gather in the Zeppelin hangar for a press conference. This ceremonial opening ceremony is attended by Federal Research Minister, Annette Schavan, and Robert-Jan Smits, Director General for Research and Innovation in the European Union. PEGASOS is sponsored by 7 EU research programs. A total of 26 institutions, from 15 European countries and Israel are participating in this project to improve air quality. On 17 March 2012, Ascension, The Zeppelin NT leaves for Rotterdam for its first Pegasos data collection campaign.
On Friday the 27th April 2012, the SN002R takes off at 10:46, and completes a successful test flight of just over one hour. The airship is then rigged for the upcoming special mission for the Pegasos climate research project. The rebuild of the Zeppelin NT, dismantled in Japan, took about 10 months.
On Monday, the 27th February 2012 the two side engines and the three fins of SN002R are mounted. At the same time, the Goodyear team, who will be operating the three Zeppelin NTs is formed.The training of the staff from the 3 airship locations in the States will take place at the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH in Friedrichshafen, and will last about 2 years.
At the start of 2012 the law of Baden-Württemberg allows civil weddings in the Zeppelin NT. The couple say “I do” in the passenger gondola while the airship is on the ground, to make the marriage legally valid, after which they take a 45 minute flight.
On Monday, the 12th December 2011 the future SN 002R airship, under construction since July, gets its new envelope. It takes ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG just under 4 weeks to gradually slide the envelope over the structure and fasten it securely from the inside.
Scientists at the Jülich Research Centre (FZJ) and other partner institutes test equipment for climate research with the Zeppelin NT. The tests are in preparation for the use of the Zeppelin NT for the EU Pegasos project in 2012 and 2013. FZJ will coordinate the measurement flights with the airship.
On Monday, the 15th August 2011 the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH celebrates 10 years of passenger operations with the Zeppelin NT. The DZR has expanded to become a service and competence center for the Zeppelin NT. About 117,500 passengers have already been flown.
ZLT is once again building an airship. This is the reconstruction of the Zeppelin NT, which was in operation in Japan from 2005 to 2010. After extensive materials testing and technical innovations, the first parts of the internal structure have now been fitted. The Zeppelin NT retains its original baptismal name "Bodensee".
Goodyear ordered the new Zeppelin NT model LZ N07-101 at a cost of approximately 14.5 Million Euros each, the largest deal in the history of ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co. KG. After component production at Friedrichshafen, the final assembly will take place in the Goodyear airship hangar in Akron, OH.The first Zeppelin NT will commence its Goodyear operation at the beginning of 2014. Besides the airship sale, the deal also includes an agreement for close co-operation between the two companies.
This three airship sale doubles the worldwide Zeppelin NT fleet.
On the 11th March 2011, the Zeppelin NT took off for a special mission over Paris. The airship was chartered by the French company "Airship Vision International" on behalf of the French government agency for radiation protection, in order to scan the area of the French capital. The mission task was to locate all gamma radiation in the city and to map the detected sources. The Zeppelin NT was operating for 5 days over Paris, flying a grid pattern in low level flight configuration at 150m above ground. The collected data will generate a basic reference map of the gamma radiation of Paris and will help to pinpoint anomalies.
The Zeppelin NT has been overflying the Lake Constance under contract with the GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ (Geo research Center) of the DLR (German Aerospace Center) to detect GPS-signals that are reflected by the surface of the Lake.
Depending on the accuracy of the GPS-method, the researchers expect to be able to use satellite based surveillance of long term sea level changes and detection of Tsunami-Waves in the future.
Since 9 October 2010, the airship is labeled "T-City Friedrichshafen. Living the future " and draws citizens and visitors to the joint project of the city and German Telekom. The partnership will run until May 2012.
Since NAC had to stop their flight operations in May due to lack of finances, ZLT-Engineers are dismantling the Zeppelin in Japan. The components will be returned to Friedrichshafen.
On 22nd June, DZR is proud to announce and celebrate its100,000th passenger since the start of commercial Zeppelin NT flights in 2001.Mr. Thomas Brandt, CEO of DZR, as well as Mr. Andreas Brand, Mayor of the City of Friedrichshafen, congratulate the female passenger from Stuttgart.
On this anniversary flight, DZR again transports Airship-Mail for collectors, the income from which will go to charity projects.
On 28th May, Airship Ventures achieves a long distance flight of 740 km with the airship “Eureka”.The Zeppelin NT takes 9 hours for its flight from San Francisco to San Diego.
Under the leadership of ZLT the project "NERSOP" (Noise Emission Reduction of suboptimal operating propeller) is successfully completed on March 31. The cooperation project involving, among others, the University of Stuttgart is involved, has the objective to minimize propeller noise. Result is an aerodynamically improved propeller with two additional leaves that will be used with its excellent noise characteristics in the future of Zeppelin construction.
The Zeppelin NT tests a newly developed Long-Endurance-System on a 24-hour-flight from the 23rd-24th March. During its non-stop flight over southern Germany, the Airship covers a distance of 1450 km, and lands with several hours worth of fuel still on board. These two additional fuel tanks of the “Extended Range Kit” are capable of holding 700 Liters of fuel each. This opens up new opportunities for the Zeppelin, e.g. long endurance surveillance and transit flights.
ZLT, signs up to the PROKNOS Project. (PROcess development of hybrid material KNOT-structures). PROKNOS is a joint venture with the Technical University of Munich, where adhesive technology is being studied to replace welding technology.
Such innovative adhesive technology could be used on the NT-Longerons, where currently welding technology is being used. Results could mean a considerable increase in service life as well as a notable weight reduction
On the 18th June the roofing ceremony for the new DZR passenger building is held. The new building, which will house a state of the art Restaurant as well as the new passenger Check-In and Lounge Area, replaces the former Check-In tent. The restaurant features a unique atmosphere with a fantastic view over the Zeppelin NT landing site for its guests.
The Zeppelin NT, serial No. 04 is christened in the USA with the name “Eureka”.
For the second time, scientists from the JÜLICH Research Center will use the unique Flight Capabilities of the Zeppelin NT for atmospheric studies. For this task, the Airship is fitted with highly modern and precise measuring equipment.
After a 4 week trip, the Zeppelin NT arrives on the 29th October at Moffett Field, California. The first flight over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco will remain an unforgettable event, heralding a new era in Zeppelin passenger flights.
Zeppelin NT, serial No. 04 leaves on September 27th from Hamburg enroute to its final destination in the US. The Zeppelin NT is transported on a Dockwise vessel to Beaumont, Texas. For the rest of the route, the Zeppelin NT will be flown, to its final destination of Moffett Field, CA. At Moffett Field, the new operator, “Airship Ventures” will offer passenger rides over San Francisco and the bay area.
Branded with the colours of the famous Brewery “Stella Artois”, the Zeppelin NT, serial No. 04, operates passenger flights over London from the 10th July until the 21st August. This is a landmark: The first commercial airship passenger operation over the British capital. At the same time though, it is also the last assignment of Serial No. 04 under the umbrella of the DZR. It is planned that serial No. 04 will be shipped to the US by the end of September, which will, for the time being, bring an end to dual Zeppelin operations in Europe.
On 25th May, the world famous Austrian Paraglider „Mad“ Mike Küng makes a spectacular jump from a flying Zeppelin with his paraglider. Küng jumps from the Airship, landing in an Italian sports car, positioned on a passenger vessel in the harbour of Lindau (Bavaria) on Lake Constance. With this stunt the famous world record holder adds another fantastic record to his impressive list.
A long development process is successfully completed. On the 29th May, the Federal Aviation Administration of the US (FAA) approves the registration and certification of the Zeppelin NT for the USA. The Zeppelin NT has thereby achieved three of the most important certifications in the world: EASA, FAA, JACB.
Zeppelin NT, serial No. 04, takes off on the 21st May for its maiden flight. Zeppelin engineers were able to reduce the overall weight of serial No. 04 by 200 kg. In addition, this youngest of all the Zeppelin NTs, shows improved flight and performance values.
On the 9th May, the American company “Airship Ventures” signs a contract for the purchase of the Zeppelin NT serial No. 04. At the time of signing the Airship is not yet assembled. After delivery to the US, this Zeppelin NT will be operated, mainly in the San Francisco area, for the purpose of fare paying passenger and advertising operations.
The Zeppelin NT based in Botswana since 2005 for the search of Diamonds is severely damaged on September 20th by a small tornado, while moored on its mast. One crew member sustains minor injuries. A repair to the airship is not considered economical, as it was the prototype of the Zeppelin NT. The Airship is dismantled in Botswana and parts are shipped back to Friedrichshafen.
The Zeppelin NT (formerly „Bodensee”) based in Japan and operated by Nippon Airship Corporation (NAC) receives the official Japanese passenger transportation certification on the 3rd July. NAC is now able to add fare paying passenger operations to their already existing activities of Advertising flights and Special Missions. DZR is therefore asked to train an additional 3 pilots and mechanics for NAC.
In summer 2007, the Institute for Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere at the Jülich Research Center conducts climatological measurement flights in the lower planetary boundary. A top platform for the Zeppelin NT 07 is constructed especially for this event.
This year, the 2,600 m² (27,986 ft²) large envelope became an artist’s canvas: from April to mid of August 2007, world-famous artist Stefan Szczesny transforms the Zeppelin NT 07 into a flying work of art. The motto of this joint project with the island of Mainau: "A dream of an earthly paradise."
After 5 years of passenger operations, the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei has transported more than 55,000 passengers.
The Zeppelin NT 07 is deployed by the DLR (German Aerospace Center) during the Soccer World Cup events in Cologne for obtaining and processing traffic data.
Approval is given for the construction of another Zeppelin NT 07 airship in Friedrichshafen. The fourth airship will be operated commercially starting in the 2008 flight season.
The Zeppelin NT 07 is used for traffic surveillance by the DLR (German Aerospace Center) and the Cologne police, during the 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne.
A national research association including universities and other research facilities is established, with a focus on the regions of Baden-Wurttemberg and Brandenburg. This project is based on the Zeppelin NT know-how and the scientific results previously obtained during the CargoLifter programme.
DeBeers and Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik sign a contract called “Diamonds for African development”, a two year diamond project in Africa. The revenue will be used to support programmes creating social benefits, like health care, transport and education facilities.
Hessen commercial broadcaster "Hitradio FFH" wins the “Academy Award for Radio Stations” with its deployment of the Zeppelin NT 07. In September, the Zeppelin NT07 cruises over Hessen, broadcasting a total of 50,000 top hits.
The Zeppelin NT 07 is chartered as a flying billboard by the sponsor MasterCard during the 2005 Confederations Cup.
The Sofema Group equips the Zeppelin NT 07 with a “Wescam” camera system on the occasion of the Aeronautical Fair at “Le Bourget”, chartering the airship for 2 weeks for demonstration purposes in Paris.
On the 14th January, the Zeppelin NT 07 sold to the Japanese Nippon Airship Corporation, takes off at the port city of Kobe for its first flight in the Far East.
The flight season 2004 ends at the end of November. A total of 39,000 have ridden in the Zeppelin NT 07 by that time.
The Zeppelin NT 07 cruises above seven cities in the Hessen area for almost two months, on behalf of the Hessen radio station “Hitradio FFH”, causing quite a stir with passenger flights and ground events.
The Zeppelin airship, purchased by Nippon Airship Corporation, is handed over during a special ceremony on the 12th June. The ceremony is attended by a large variety of celebrities generating great media attention.
The Zeppelin NT 07 commences a 2-month promotional campaign through Eastern Europe on behalf of BMW AG. The world’s biggest flying billboard announces the market launch of the BMW 1 series, in Slovakia, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Hungary.
The Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei trains the ground crew and pilots of the Nippon Airship Corporation for the airship operation in Japan.
The Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei is the first company in the world to receive certification as a flight school for airships.
ZLT sells one Zeppelin NT 07 to the Japanese airship operator Nippon Airship Corporation. The sales contract is signed in Friedrichshafen on the 2nd March.
The 7th December marks the end of the 2003 flight season. More than 17,000 passengers flew with the world's two state-of-the-art airships that year.
The Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei upgrades the flight plan with three new destinations: as well as Ravensburg and Salem, the fairy-tale castle of Neuschwanstein is included.
The Zeppelin airship flies above the Bavarian capital of Munich during Oktoberfest. 700 passengers take this opportunity to ride in a Zeppelin airship above the biggest folk festival in the world.
The Zeppelin NT 07 visits the city of Bad Homburg 90 years after the first imperial airship parade in that city. Approximately 1300 passengers ride in the airship from Kronenhof.
The Zeppelin NT 07 flies to Thüringen for the first time. More than 400 passengers ride on the airship in one weekend during the "Day of Environment“ at Wismut GmbH in Gera.
The Zeppelin NT 07 receives certification for night flights under visual flight rules (VFR).
The Zeppelin airship “Bodensee” offers sightseeing flights from Freiburg for the first time. More than 1000 passengers were welcomed on board in these three weeks.
The 2003 season begins, for the first time with two Zeppelin airships certified for commercial flight operations.
The second series airship takes off for its maiden flight on the 8th February.
Successful deployments in Berlin and at the Bundesgartenschau (Federal Horticultural Exhibition) in Stuttgart focuses a lot of attention on the Zeppelin NT 07, and leads to a huge demand for flight tickets. After just one year of passenger operations and only eight months of operating, the 10,000th passenger is welcomed on board.
The “Bodensee” visits the International Aerospace Exhibition and Conferences in Berlin, using this first external deployment for passenger flights from Berlin Tempelhof over the federal capital of Germany.
On the 14th August, the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei receives the certification as an operating company from the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (Federal Office of Civil Aviation). Thus enabling commercial passenger services, consisting of 1-hour sightseeing flights over Lake Constance to start the very next day. Since then, up to 10 sightseeing flights a day are offered over eastern or western Lake Constance.
On 10th August, His Royal Highness Carl, Duke of Württemberg christens the first series airship “Bodensee”, raising great media interest.
A spectacular transfer of Zeppelin collectors' mail from the Zeppelin NT 07 prototype “Friedrichshafen” to the Lake Constance passenger ship “Graf Zeppelin” is conducted on the 2nd June. In spite of the bad weather conditions with gusty winds of up to 20 knots, a mailbag is placed exactly on the passenger deck of the motor boat.
The Zeppelin NT 07 prototype “Friedrichshafen” participates in the “44th International Aerosalon” at Paris/Le Bourget, the biggest aviation fair in the world, from the 17th to the 24th June. This is the first time since the end of the 1920s that a Zeppelin airship cruises above the French capital.
On the 19th May, the second airship takes off at 10:25 for its first flight. Pilots Fritz Günther and Dominique Manière conduct several tests with the new Zeppelin airship during their 2.5 hour long test flight.
The Zeppelin NT 07 receives the type certification from the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (Federal Office of Civil Aviation). The ceremonial handing over of the certificate takes place during the inauguration of the “AERO 2001” on the 26th April at Friedrichshafen. In addition, Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH receives certification as an airship-manufacturing company.
The Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei is founded as the operating company of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH.
The Zeppelin NT 07 prototype has accumulated more than 800 flight hours in about 220 flights. The official test flight programme has successfully been completed. The flight data collected during three years is being processed.
The “Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei” (DZR) is founded as the operating company to be an active part in the commercial launch of the Zeppelins of New Technology. This enables the development and production company Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik (ZLT) to expand its business area. The Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei will not only be the expertise and service centre for the airship, but will also manage the flight operations and pilot training.
The Zeppelin NT 07 returns from its big tour through Germany. In the course of which, the airship conducted test flights between 13 July and 1 August, and travelled more than 3,600 km (2,237 miles) in about 75 flight hours. Highlight of this tour was the visit to the EXPO at Hanover on 21st July.
The test programme included noise level measurements, avionics tests, and take-offs and landings. Here, the Zeppelin NT demonstrated excellent manoeuvrability on the North Sea coast in winds of up to 50 km/h (27kts).
On the 2nd July, Count Zeppelin’s granddaughter, Elisabeth Veil, christens the Zeppelin NT 07 prototype “Friedrichshafen” on the occasion of Zeppelin’s centennial.
The support structure assembly of the first series airship is completed in February 2000. The envelope is attached to the support structure in May of the same year.
The Zeppelin NT 07 accomplishes its longest distance flight so far, of more than 680km (423miles). The route takes the ship to Switzerland, past the cities of Weil am Rhein, Basel, and Bern, with its turning point in Neuchâtel. The flight is for a good cause: the airship transports 15 kg (33 lb) of Zeppelin collectors' mail for the Pestalozzi Children’s Village in Wahlwies.
The production of the parts for the first series airship starts. The first flight is expected by the end of 2000. The prototype’s technical design has proven itself and can be applied to the series airship without major modifications.
On 8th August, the Zeppelin NT 07 performs its first masting away from Friedrichshafen. The airship accomplishes a cross-country flight via Altenrhein (Switzerland) to Echterdingen near Stuttgart (Germany), landing at Stuttgart Airport.
Approximately 30,000 curious onlookers watch the Zeppelin’s maiden flight on the18th September. At 19:47, the Zeppelin NT 07 unmasts in front of exhibition hall 10 in Friedrichshafen and lands after a 40-minute flight, in front of the new Zeppelin hangar in Allmannsweiler. This hangar is the largest in Southern Germany, measuring 110 m (361 ft) in length, 69 m (226 ft) in width, and 32 m (105 ft) in height.
The LZ N07 prototype under construction is presented to the public for the first time, and raises great media attention.
Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH is officially recognised as a design organisation by the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (Federal Office of Civil Aviation) in Brunswick.
The construction regulations for airships capable of transporting more than 9 passengers, developed in conjunction with the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (Federal Office for Civil Aviation), are approved.
Preparatory studies for the prototype are in full swing. The rigid 75 m (246 ft) long and 14 m (56 ft) high structure is assembled in the new exhibition hall 10. This hall was specifically constructed 4 m (13 ft) higher than needed for regular exhibition use for this purpose.
Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH (today ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG), based in Friedrichshafen, is founded. It is connected to the former Zeppelin airship building under corporate law and handles the development and production of Zeppelins of New Technology. Main shareholders of the company are Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH, Zeppelin GmbH, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, and ZF-Lemförder Metallwaren AG.
The development team files and receives several patents worldwide. These patents include, amongst others, the triangular structure, the arrangement of the propellers, the ballonet design, and the carbon-fiber girders.
The proof of concept is demonstrated. The remote-controlled test model weighs 20 kg (44 lbs) at a length of 10 m (33 ft) and is powered by three electric motors. It reveals excellent flight characteristics during the very first test flight. It shows that the basic concept of a rigid structure to which the newly designed swivelling propellers are fixed, guarantee highest safety and so far, unmatched manoeuvrability.
A feasibility study and a market research survey look at technical possibilities, construction costs, and subsequent operation of modern Zeppelin airships. The first matrix shows a sales potential of around 80 Zeppelin airships in the sectors of tourism, advertising, and special scientific missions.
First considerations about whether reviving the Zeppelin airships would be technologically and economically viable. In light of this, documentation of the historic Zeppelin airships, (stored in the archive of Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH), is evaluated, and the effectiveness of current airship projects is studied.