Things I Would Like To See (Part V)

Zeppelin documentaryBlimps. Dirigibles.  Or, as I’m going to refer to them here, zeppelins.  This is what I’d like to see.

In the first few decades of the 20th century, airplanes had not yet come fully into their own.  Even so, people were still entranced with the desire to fly.  Enter the zeppelin.  If Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (my favorite film) has shown us anything, it is that they were both elegant and exciting.

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Onboard the zeppelin.

Did you know that the Empire State Building originally had a dock for mooring zeppelins?  OK, it was a bit of stunt architecture…but it did.  A world with flying contraptions like these was assumed to be part of the modern age.  Unforunately, that reality just never “took off.”  Similar airships are still mainstays of steampunk and alternate universe science fiction, testimony to divergent possibilities in worlds that never came to be.  But here’s the thing, of course: they still could.

Think about it: we still have remnants of the world of zeppelins with us.  Unfortunately, these vestiges only show up at football games or auto lot sales.  Sadly, there are very few options for using the zeppelin as a real mode of transportation.  I think this should change.

airship1Now I know what you’re going to say: what about that old chestnut, the Hindenburg?  OK, fine.  It blew up.  Big tragedy.  But that was seven decades ago.  I’m certain a lot of things have changed since then that would be able to make zeppelin travel more safe.  Seriously: at the very least it is something worth looking into.

What about practicality, you say?  Well, I don’t think that zeppelins are going to replace airplanes, trains, or land-based mass transit for long distance travel.  Convenience, capacity, and speed are among the factors those modes of transportation have in their corner.  But that doesn’t mean that the zeppelin has no use in our modern age.Z Co. Ad, started in 1909

The contemporary parallel for the zeppelin is not the jet plane, but rather the cruise ship.  Strictly speaking, cruise ships are a dreadfully slow way to travel somewhere.  It takes days for them to move what planes do in hours.  But then speed isn’t the point.  The experience–that’s what is golden.  There are possibilities here, my friends.

Couldn’t you see it now?  A zeppelin renaissance.  It’s hard to get more old-school and throwback than this.  Hipsters would love it.  The ability to fly high in the sky, living for a week amongst the clouds…what’s not to like?  As the 21st century’s “cruise ships of the sky,” zeppelins are something I’d like to see.

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