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Walmart Blimp Comes to KLHZ

Walmart blimp
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The Walmart blimp at KLHZ. Photo Credit: C/SMSgt Elizabeth Helbig, CAP (click image to view full size)
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Cadets at NC-145 get a unique opportunity

9/1/2017––It all started as an ordinary ES meeting at KLHZ. We heard at the beginning of the meeting that the Walmart blimp was being moored there. The mast was already set up and we were all wondering when the blimp was going to come in. 

It was about 08:00 and we just started being able to see the blimp. It was very far away and it was very hard to distinguish that it was a blimp at first. The blimp had to make two approaches. On the first approach, the blimp came in above the hangars and had to make a second approach in a different spot so that the blimp would not hit the hangers and to correctly line up with the mast.
Later during the meeting we were allowed to go over and see the blimp. So we went over and listened to the person with the blimp talk about what the blimp was used for. Many cadets asked questions about the blimp. I was suprised to see the cadets so involved in asking questions and learning about the blimp. Later, after the cadets were not asking questions anymore, we were allowed to go and sit in the cockpit of the blimp. I have never seen so many smiles from all the cadets. I believe that this is an experience that not even one cadet wants to forget.
Blimps are originated from zeppelins. The first airships were used in WWI for spying and dropping bombs. These airships could fly at higher altitudes than the aircraft of their time. The first successful airship was constructed in 1852 by Henri Giffard of France. His airship was filled with hydrogen (a very explosive element) and carried a three-horsepower steam engine that turned a large propeller and flew at a speed of only 6 miles per hour. The rigid airship (zeppelin) was developed by the Germans in the late 19th century and was named after the last name of its inventor, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin.
The most famous airship story in history was the Hindenburg disaster on May 6, 1937, about a passenger airship known as the Hindenburg. It was post WWI and the Hindenburg set out from Frankfurt, Germany on May 3, 1937 and traveled across the Atlantic to be moored at Lakehurst Navy Air Base in New Jersey. The Hindenburg carried 36 passengers and 61 crew members. There were 12 sacks of hydrogen within the airship. The large airship was constantly dumping its water ballast for about 3 hours in order to be balanced enough to moor. The Hindenburg had just set out the landing lines to be moored to its mast. Suddenly, the Hindenburg burst into flames and was engulfed in flames within 30 seconds. Due to this explosive event, 13 passengers, 21 crew members and one ground crew member lost their lives. The remaining survivors suffered serious injuries. Due to the Hindenburg disaster, Helium (a noble gas) is now used in modern day airships.