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I just like them a lot when I see'em in movies and I was wondering, are they still being used anywhere? Are there any companies working on them?

If the answer is, as I expect, "Nope", I have to ask why? (Update: the "why" is more or less explained here Why are airships not more popular? , I still hope the answer is not "Nope"!)

Naïvely I would've thought they should be useful for heavy cargo, passengers, cheaper and safer than planes...

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  • $\begingroup$ Related: aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/9860/… $\endgroup$ Oct 6, 2016 at 22:21
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know how I overlooked that. I'll add it to the question. The "why" is more or less explained there. I do wonder whether there are companies working on it though. $\endgroup$
    – Scarlehoff
    Oct 6, 2016 at 22:29
  • $\begingroup$ I think the biggest problem with lighter than air craft is that they're ungainly in unstable wind conditions. $\endgroup$ Oct 7, 2016 at 4:39

1 Answer 1

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Zeppelins had a rigid skeleton and several internal gas bags. None of them are still in operation.

Airships today are blimps, that is, one big gas bag which is kept in shape by internal pressure, which in turn is regulated by ballonets.

The only airships flying today are used for

All attempts (and there were many) to use airships for cargo transport have eventually failed, sometimes spectacularly.

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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget the MetLife blimps (which like the Goodyear blimps serve a dual role: Advertising for the company operating them, and as a camera platform for sports coverage). The MetLife blimps (Snoopy 1, Snoopy 2, and Snoopy J) do a lot of TV coverage for golf events (see here). $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Oct 6, 2016 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ Also worth a look: Lockheed-Martin's "Hybrid Airship" - I don't know that any are in actual use as cargo platforms, but that's their intent. We'll see whether they can make a successful go of it. $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Oct 6, 2016 at 22:35
  • $\begingroup$ That was a bizarre contraption! $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Oct 7, 2016 at 15:16
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    $\begingroup$ @voretaq7: The hybrid airship is actually the P-791. Cargo versions are planned with 3 to 7 times its actual size, but have not been built yet. $\endgroup$ Oct 7, 2016 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterKämpf I'm sure they'll build at least one - think of the size of the Lockheed-Martin logo you can paint on that sad-looking manatee of an aircraft! :) I think the civilian cargo-hauling version is going to be the LMH-1, they signed a contract for a bunch of them in March but I don't think any will be flying until at least 2017/2018. $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Oct 7, 2016 at 18:30

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