Meg and Fritz flying Eureka.
About the Ship
After introductions we went to the
hangar. Eureka was moored outside
to the mast truck. What makes this
design special is that, in addition
to two side-mounted powerplants,
there is also a rear-mounted engine.
All three propellers can be pivoted
to vector thrust downward, allowing
the ship to hover like a helicopter,
though much quieter.
The Zeppelin NT has a rigid inner
structure made of aluminum and
carbon fiber. The cabin, engines, and
empennage are mounted directly to
this framework, giving the ship a semi-rigid construction with low vibration.
It is so quiet that only the pilots wear
headsets––so they can hear air traffic
control. The lack of noise is one of
the first things passengers notice. The
three engines combine to produce a
maximum speed of 78 mph, with a
typical cruise speed of about 40 mph.
I was surprised to learn that the
engines on Eureka are Lycoming IO-
360s that run on 100LL. For some
reason I thought they would be diesels.
Zeppelins of old were controlled
by cables connected to a large
helmsman’s wheel. You won’t find
those on the Zeppelin NT. This 21st
century airship is controlled via a
fly-by-wire system, using a side-stick.
The engines and the vectors of the
propellers are controlled with levers
mounted on a center pedestal.
Kate Board, one of the instructors,
has been flying airships for 12 years
A guard protects the
magnetos prior to start.
The air valve levers are
blue, the helium are red.
Glass on the left, steam gauges
on the right.