New-era zeppelin grounded by Russian red tape

3rd August 2004, Comments 0 comments

3 August 2004 , FRIEDRICHSHAFEN - The first of a new generation of airships designed by Germany's Zeppelin corporation is grounded in Finland, unable to complete its historic flight from Germany to Japan owing to Russian red tape, an official said Tuesday. The crewmen of the 75-metre-long Zeppelin NTD have been unable to obtain permission from Russian aviation authorities to fly through Russia's air space, said Zeppelin corporation chief engineer Bernd Straeter at the company's headquarters in Friedrichsha

3 August 2004

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN - The first of a new generation of airships designed by Germany's Zeppelin corporation is grounded in Finland, unable to complete its historic flight from Germany to Japan owing to Russian red tape, an official said Tuesday.

The crewmen of the 75-metre-long Zeppelin NTD have been unable to obtain permission from Russian aviation authorities to fly through Russia's air space, said Zeppelin corporation chief engineer Bernd Straeter at the company's headquarters in Friedrichshafen on the shores of Lake Constance.

The flight, which began 4 July is scheduled to take 30 days. But the airship has been marooned at Helsinki for the past two weeks, costing valuable time.

"If permission is not forthcoming soon from the Russian side we shall have to scrub the flight," said Straeter. "Otherwise, weather conditions in the autumn over Siberia will be too extreme."

The flight started on July 4 amid a flurry of publicity - 104 years after the first zeppelin dirigible was launched.

Officials of Nippon Airship Corporation took possession of in ceremonies on the shores of Lake Constance, the Zeppelin firm's headquarters since 1900.

It was from here that Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin's prototype LZ-1 lighter-than-air ship made aviation history with a 20-minute flight on 2 July 1904.

From the outset the trip has been plagued with problems. Launch of the gleaming new airship, buoyed by non-flammable helium, was delayed for 48 hours due to thunderstorms on the first flight's anniversary on 2 July.

This summer marks the 75th anniversary of the precedent-setting round-the-world flight in 1929 of the legendary Graf Zeppelin. Some 100,000 people greeted the Graf Zeppelin when it made a stopover in Tokyo that year.

The new airship, accommodating 12 passengers, will be used for tourist flights in Japan.

DPA

Subject: German news

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