A voluminous Zeppelin NT from Lake Constance has been floating unmistakably low over the city of Frankfurt for four days since this Friday.
The airship flies on behalf of the Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei in Friedrichshafen.
The zeppelin is expected to be on tour over the city up to and including September 27th.
Always provided, however, that the weather is right.
Fog, clouds hanging too low or wind speeds that are too high can prevent a flight, as the airship is more than 70 meters long and very sensitive to wind.
The up to ten passengers do not get on at Frankfurt Airport, but on a meadow in Bad Homburg at the Hofgut Kronenhof. This was briefly converted into a makeshift airfield in earlier years. On board the Zeppelin NT (NT stands for New Technology) you always go in pairs. In order not to upset the fragile balance of the airship, only two passengers are allowed to climb into the cabin for every two guests disembarking. Thanks to its helium filling, the airship weighs just 400 kilos. That is why it does not “drive” like a hot air balloon, but “flies” because it is heavier than air. In contrast to the tightly seated cabins of airliners, the space and visibility are opulent. Each of the passengers has a seat by the window,and these are not small portholes, but huge panes through which an almost all-round view is possible. The well-known 3G rules naturally apply on board.
The flight attendant gives a few brief explanations, and then it starts. The zeppelin climbs slowly but steeply into the sky over Bad Homburg. After just a few minutes, the cruising altitude of around 300 meters above ground is reached. The Zeppelin is now heading for Frankfurt. Shortly afterwards the stewardess signals. The passengers no longer have to be buckled up. All guests on board stroll through the spacious cabin and contemplate the landscape. The route initially leads via Oberursel to the Nordwestkreuz. Frankfurt is soon reached. Not too far away are the airliners at Rhein-Main Airport to be discovered.
Unlike a passenger plane, however, the Zeppelin is quite slow. It covers around 65 kilometers per hour when cruising. So speed is not an issue for him. His fascination arises from the decelerated air travel at low altitude. A panoramic window in the rear even allows you to look straight down. Everyone on board is fascinated by the high-rise buildings in Frankfurt, the top floors of which are almost at eye level with the zeppelin.
The exhibition center is quickly reached. Then he hovers over the banking district, old town and Römer. We continue towards Ostend, via Goethe University and Palmengarten. He floats back past the Europa Tower. The pilot is in constant contact with the tower controllers at Frankfurt Airport. In addition, he always maintains the prescribed distance from the nearby airspace with the approach and departure area of the airliner.
The crew on these special flights is particularly experienced. Even extremely experienced pilots of airplanes or helicopters have to relearn about two years before they are allowed to pilot a zeppelin themselves. The Zeppelin shipping company in Friedrichshafen always trains its airship operators themselves. Applicants must already have a commercial pilot's license, either for airplanes or, even better, for helicopters. At least 800 hours of flight experience are the minimum requirement to have any chance of employment. Four men and one woman alternately steer either the Zeppelin NT stationed in Friedrichshafen or the sister ship that is currently flying over Frankfurt.
With a north-west course, the zeppelin is now floating again towards Bad Homburg.
The pilot descends a few kilometers from the landing area.
Shortly before the temporary airfield, the speed decreases.
The three propellers of the engines are also moved to a different position.
The zeppelin slowly floats down to the ground.
Shortly afterwards he touches down gently in the meadow.
The travelers are probably a little sad now.
This fascinating journey through time into a long-forgotten era of aviation comes to an end much too quickly after 45 minutes.
But at least it gives an idea of how exciting and fascinating it must have been in the heyday of the zeppelins.
And for everyone in Frankfurt, the zeppelin is a welcome attraction in the sky.Keywords: