Personal

Wed 25 Oct 06

I had the unique opportunity to fly in the newly created Holden Airship for a breathtaking view of Brisbane.

I rode with Ian Skippen, Greg "Marto" Martin, Greg "Sully" Sullivan and Georgina McEncroe as part of a promotion with the Cage Breakfast show on Triple M.

The Holden Airship is an A170 Lightship and was launched in August 2006. It is one of the biggest aircrafts in the world and incorporates some world-first technology - namely, the massive 21.3m x 9.1m screen on it's side which is made up of almost 370,000 LED lights and can display moving footage or scrolling text which can be seen up to 1km away.

The passenger compartment (gondola) can accommodate four passengers as well as the pilot, the screen operator and another crew member. A PDF of the airship specs are available here.

We took off from Archefield airport cruising slowly north over the city and across the northern suburbs and back again over a total flying time of two hours. Flying in the airship was quite unique as I felt particularly susceptible to the elements. The pilot plays a continuous juggling act counteracting the wind with the 'wheels' located on either side of his chair.

Besides the noise of the two propellors, the ride is quite smooth in the absense of the sudden jolting movements associated with a normal aircraft. Instead, the cabin gently sways and lolls about as the giant 'balloon' is pushed around by the wind. A couple of times we tipped forward almost 45 which was quite unsettling! Overall however, it was an awesome ride.

These images are available for purchase. Click here for prices.


Click to enlarge
Brisbane city panorama
Click to enlarge
The airship tethered
Click to enlarge
Boarding
Click to enlarge
The pilot
Click to enlarge
Ground crew
Click to enlarge
The propellors fire up
Click to enlarge
Take-off!
Click to enlarge
Settling in
Click to enlarge
Brisbane city from the NW
Click to enlarge
Toowong Cemetery
Click to enlarge
Mt Coot-tha
Click to enlarge
Indooroopilly reach of the Brisbane River with city in background
Click to enlarge
Suburbia
Click to enlarge
Five-ways intersection Everton Park
Click to enlarge
South Pine River where Gympie and Strathpine Rds meet
Click to enlarge
Suncorp Stadium
Click to enlarge
Greg "Marto" Martin
Click to enlarge
George and Sully (screen operator in background)
Click to enlarge
Ian Skippen
Click to enlarge
Facing S over Roma St railway station and city
Click to enlarge
Southbank beach
Click to enlarge
Story Bridge
Click to enlarge
Facing SW over Brisbane city
Click to enlarge
Facing NE up Coronation Drive
Click to enlarge
Floating above the city
Click to enlarge
The photographer
Click to enlarge
Pilot prepares to land at Archefield airport
Click to enlarge
Ground crew race to tether the grounding ropes
Click to enlarge
Some of the 369,600 LED lights which
make up the display screen
Click to enlarge
On firm ground - (from left) the photographer,
Sully, George, Marto, Skip and a crew member