Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Another Golden Age?

Giant zeppelin flies maiden voyage in Japan

"Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik starting building the new airships in 1996, and the sale to Nippon Airship Corporation was its first commercial deal."

I love the Japanese people. Bless them and their love of airships. Sometimes, their complete insanity lines up neatly with my own.

"It's not a balloon, it's an airship!"


Joseph said...

Like I've always pointed out, 37 people died in the Hindenburg explosion, while hundreds perished in the Titanic disaster. Yet ocean liners thrived while zeppelins disappeared. Why? One was captured on newsreel and one wasn't. I say bring back these great phallic creatures of the sky ASAP!

Salvius said...

I agree. R101: 48 dead (8 survivors). Hindenburg: 37 dead (61 survivors). And I believe those the two worst civilian airship disasters in history. There are other bad ones, but I don't think any of the others in the top 5 involved civilian passengers. You'd have to get way down on the list of top airplane crashes (or train wrecks, or even bus accidents) before you found one with a 15% survival rate.

I believe the reason the Hindenburg crash effectively ended the use of rigid airships had nothing to do with their actual safety record, but rather that the Hindenburg produced a big scary ball of flame when it went down. It looked like a much worse disaster than it actually was, and, as you say, that big scary ball of flame was captured on film and shown in newsreels. That and, of course, the perhaps overly-dramatic Herbert Morrison radio report.

Granted, now that we have passenger jets, airships are less practical purely for getting from one place to another. But when the journey itself is the point, as with a cruise ship or train tour, I think there's an untapped market. People pay premium rates to spend days or weeks on cruise ships and sightseeing trains, I believe there are people who would do the same for an airship cruise.

I guess I'll file this with all my other get-rich-slowly schemes. I seem to have a knack for identifying untapped markets where there are potentially huge profits to be made, but which unfortunately all require an initial investment of several million dollars...