Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's even bigger than a blimp

The world's largest flying machine has touched down ever so gently in Eden Prairie.

The Farmers Airship, one of only two zeppelins in existence, arrived Tuesday at Flying Cloud Airport just before 7 p.m. The California-based airship, with its Farmers Insurance sponsorship clearly visible, is touring the country and offering opportunities for the public to buy rides starting Friday and through the weekend.

Though it looks like a blimp, a zeppelin differs in that it has an internal framework. It is filled with nonflammable helium and maneuvers similarly to a helicopter. Two lateral engines and one in the rear provide flight control and propulsion. It measures 246 feet long -- that's 15 feet longer than a Boeing 747and 50 feet longer than the world's largest blimp.

The airship left Milwaukee late Tuesday morning, crossed into Minnesota at Wabasha and then coasted to the Twin Cities from there. In a nod to its sponsor, the airship passed over the Farmers Insurance regional headquarters in Bloomington.

To track the zeppelin's travels online, visit According to the site, rides can range from $375 or more a person. LINK

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