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MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA-A company that wants to provide sky tours and advertising operations with Zeppelin NT airships is setting up shop at the NASA Research Park at Moffett Field. Airship Ventures Inc. chief executive Alex Hall tells GlobeSt.com the company has set up shop in a temporary location at the park while it negotiates a lease for one of the historic airship hangars and a portion of an historic building on Shenandoah Plaza that would hold its headquarters.

Meantime, the airship, a 12-pasenger Zeppelin NT07, is being constructed in Germany by Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH and is expected to be ready in May. Hall tells GlobeSt.com that its contract to acquire the semi-rigid carbon fiber airship is contingent upon Airship Ventures obtaining all the necessary approvals from the FAA to operate the vessel in the US. The goal is to have it here and ready for tours by October.

“The FAA is in the process of doing type certification for the Zeppelin,” Hall says. “It’s been going on for several years and is reaching its conclusion. The ship won’t come here until that’s finished.” As for NASA approving its plans to locate permanently on at the research park, Hall says “all indications are that bringing an airship back to the former airship base is an appropriate reuse of the historic structures.”

The Navy Zeppelin, USS Macon, first arrived at Moffett Field in October 1933. The last blimp to operate at the field was deflated in August 1947. Airship Ventures is hoping to be up and running this year in deference to the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the USS Macon at Moffett Field. Hall expects a formal decision from NASA by June.

At 246 feet in length, a Zeppelin NT07 is approximately 50 feet longer than the largest blimp. Using the inert gas helium for lift, and vectored thrust engines for flight, the Zeppelin NT has been flying since 1997 in Germany and Japan. Tours also are expected to begin in London later this year.

Hall says she is currently working with NASA to gain right of access to look at the buildings it wants to lease and determine how much will need to be spent to renovate the structures. “We will figure out how much needs to be spent and that will become part of the negotiation with NASA on rent and terms,” she says.

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