An airship is a large balloon of gas of consistency lighter than air that can be navigated through the use of a set of propellers driven by a motor that gives it movement. There are three different types of airships: rigid airships that have an internal metal frame that serves to maintain the shape of the envelope that the airship has; the semi-rigid in which the rigid bars pass along the envelope to be able to adequately maintain their shape; and the non-rigid ones in which the internal pressure of the lifting gas, usually helium , manages to maintain the shape of the envelope.


Information of interest

  • Inventor:  Henri Giffard
  • Year: 1852

What is an airship?

The airship is an aerostat that works with propulsion , that moves with helium and that is able to maneuver to fly in the same way that an aircraft does . It is an oval balloon that offers less aerodynamic resistance in its advance.

  • What is an airship for?
  • Airship features
  • Story
  • Present and future
  • How an airship works

What is an airship for?

The use that is given to the airships at the moment is directed mainly to the publicity . They are conducted tours to places that are frequented by schools and educational centers. For national and international campaigns in the launch of new products. Sometimes they are used to carry out captive flights at fixed points using posters or to maintain a fixed focus on a special event. You can also use the balloon to produce images of marks in exotic locations like a rainforestor on the beach. It may be that the balloon is built in the shape of the brand that is required to be promoted. It is one of the best advertising tools.

Airship features

Among its main characteristics we can mention:

  • It was the first flying artifact that was controlled in a long-distance flight.
  • The most notable blimp accident was the Hindenburg fire .
  • It is widely used in advertising .
  • It is an inexpensive means of transportation .
  • It is capable of carrying relatively large loads .
  • It has less failures in their engines that you can get to present a plane .
  • They can land anywhere .
  • Their flight is very quiet and they help reduce environmental pollution .
  • It is a bit vulnerable if it must face strong gusts of wind or bad weather conditions .


The history of airships begins, like the history of hot air balloons , in the country called France . After the invention of the hot air balloon in 1783, a French officer named Meusnier thought of an airship that used the hot air balloon design , but which, unlike this one, could be navigated . In 1784, he managed to design an aircraft that had an elongated envelope, propellers, and a rudder, similar to the airship that exists today. Although he documented his idea with extensive drawings, Meusnier’s airship was never built. During the year 1852, another Frenchman, a renowned engineer known by the name ofHenri Giffard in 1852, built the first practical airship . Filled with hydrogen gas , it was powered by a 3 hp steam engine weighing 160 kg, which managed to fly at 9 km / h. Although Giffard’s airship managed to take off, it could not be fully controlled . The first successfully sailed airship, known as ” La France “, was built in 1884 by two renowned Frenchmen, Renard and Krebs . This was driven by a propeller equipped with an electric drive . The La France airship which was under the complete control of the pilotsand it could fly only at 15 miles per hour. In 1878, Ritchell flew over Hartford in an airship using a steam engine. In 1888, Wölfert flies in a gasoline powered one at Seelburg . In 1898, when gasoline engines began to be applied, the aerostats became independent from the atmospheric currents; highlights the Brazilian inventor Santos Dumont , in Paris, and Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, in Germany.

Present and future

At present, airships are used mainly to carry advertising from one place to another, they are an excellent advertising medium. Airships are expected to be an alternative option to airplanes in the not too distant future , and several of them are already under construction.

How an airship works

Airships are also known as lighter-than-air boats because to generate lift , they use gases that are lighter than air itself. The most common gas currently in use is helium. Hydrogen was previously used, but after the Hindenburg disaster, hydrogen was no longer used in aircraft because hydrogen burns so easily. Helium, on the other hand, is not flammable . It is able to control its buoyancy in the air in much the same way as a submarine does in water. The gas compartments act as tanks with ” heavy ” air . When taking off, the pilot expels airof the compartments through the air valves . The helium causes the blimp to float positively in the surrounding air, causing the blimp to rise. The pilot revs the engine and adjusts the elevators to tilt the blimp against the wind. The airship’s cone shape also helps generate lift.

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