The Zeppelins saga
In August 2005 the Zeppelin NT prototype was shipped to South Africa for its new 2 year assignment with De Beers. During its stay it will be used for several services for the De Beers Group. After flying from Friedrichshafen to Amsterdam it was put on the ferry ship in the same fashion as the Zeppelin "Yokoso Japan" which was shipped to Japan between December 2004 and January 2005. Main task of the Zeppelin was the exploration of new diamond reserves in South Africa. The Zeppelin NT has to provide a unique platform for these explorations providing a five-time improvement compared to the current systems.
de Beers Zeppelin

Diamond-hunting airship faces scrapheap after Botswana crash

An airship used by the world's biggest diamond company to search for gemstones in the Kalahari desert has been permanently grounded after a crash in Botswana last month

Heavy winds detached the 7m ship from its moorings near the Jwaneng mine last month, slightly injuring its South African crew.

De Beers spokesman Tom Tweedy said that a damage assessment on the Zeppelin, one of only three such airships in the world, had concluded it was effectively beyond repair following the crash on September 22.

"Although we have not received any proper detailed information, we are certain the same Zeppelin will no longer be used again,"
Tweedy told AFP. "There were
only three Zeppelins built in the whole world. One is in Japan another one is used for tourism purposes in Germany, while the third was being loaned to us to use in diamond explorations. Effectively there are only two Zeppelins left."

The Zeppelin, equipped with state-of-the-art geological instruments which survey the ground and detect diamond pipes had been on loan to De Beers in order to explore the diamond-rich Jwaneng and Debswana regions.

Tweedy said the airship, which flew between 200 and 260 feet above the ground while conducting its surveys, had captured significant data since 2 years which would be examined before a decision was made on whether to embark on more detailed explorations. "We have got enough data to work on until the end of the year," he said.

De Beers will now use alternative methods for diamond exploration in Botswana and neighbouring South Africa.
The Japanese Zeppelin

From November 23, and until January 5, Tokyoïtes will be able to fly over their city on board a German airship.

75 meters of length, 19 meters wide and 17 meters high, the new Zeppelin is powered by three engines giving each one 200 horsepower. For the moment only three apparatuses were brought into service in the world by the German manufacturer Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik. (now there're only two).

Although the aircraft has the size of a Boeing 747, the cockpit is hardly larger only one small bus. Only few passengers can go on board.

In Japan, tour operator JTB proposes some 90 minutes flights to the top of the Japanese capital to a tariff spreading out between 126 000 et 168 000 yen (780 euros et 1000 euros), of day like night..

The operation will be renewed next spring in Kansai. The route is not yet final, but at JTB one speaks already about the overflight of Osaka and the temples about Kyoto and Nara.
Photo copyrights : ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG und Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH.