I don't like balloons, nor blimps, although an airship is technically something different, it is a dirigible, with a rigid airframe. That does not makes it more attractive to me, furthermore, It is not cheap, another reason for me to not want to do it.
But my husband, being a pilot, thinks it's a great thing, and wanted a ride for his birthday. So, reluctantly I booked a tour for us. We arrived an hour before the scheduled flight, which gave us plenty of time to check in (only 12 passengers, so not that it would take a long time), we had a briefing to learn the safety procedure, and were scanned for contraband, it is a flight after all, but the atmosphere was much more fun during the scan.
We were taken in a van to the airfield from the office (in Moffett Field, Mountain View
), and we stood around waiting for the airship to return from its previous flight.
Waiting room at Airship Ventures
It seemed to take a long time to come around, and then got close faster, then overhead, and the lowered to the ground. It was a little windy, and one ground crew held a rope tied to the nose of the airship, and the pilot hovered above ground just a few feet, while swinging with the wind.
We were briefed that two people would get off, and two people would get on. So that's how it unloaded and loaded passengers. The first step onto the ladder was a little tricky, because the ladder is actually floating above ground, not on the ground. But it's not too hard, so we all got on with no problems, even the elderly gentleman. After we all got onboard, and seated, the airship took off right away. Pretty soon we were flying away from the airfield. The airship had seats for 12 people, all window (and aisle!).
Big hangars in Moffett field, the one on the left is where the airship lives
The windows are really big and affording great view outside. There are also two openable windows, and after we leveled off at 1000 feet, we were allowed and encouraged to walk around, look out the window, stick our head or hand or camera out of the windows! And at the rear of the airship was a huge window seat, where one can sit and look almost straight down! It was very quiet inside, even with the windows open at times. The airship went north from Mountain View to north of Stanford University and then turned back. Even though it was only a 30 minute flight, it felt not rushed, although I am sure some people would feel it was too short! It was a lot of fun. I did get a little dizzy from walking around and maybe from the wind. But overall, it was a great experience and fun thing to do!
Mountain View Sights & Attractions review
A ride in an airship in California
Some people have always wanted to ride in the zeppelin (a dirigible, rigid airship, not a blimp), even though I was not one of them, my husband was, a… read entire review