Here’s Why You Don’t See Blimps Anymore

Airships are lighter-than-air aircraft that operate from a lifting-gas that’s less dense than the surrounding air, keeping them afloat. The crash of the Hindenberg in 1937, which killed 35 people onboard, marked the end of airships as a means of public transportation. However, they were still used at times, when the ability to hover for a long period of time outweighed the need for speed and maneuverability. In the modern era, blimps began to be used for advertising, tourism, and camera platforms for sporting events. Now, you pretty much never seem them. The main reason for that is that it costs too much money to build and run them. The cost of helium alone can run $100,000 for one trip. Another reason for their decline is the fact that only 128 people in the U.S. are qualified to fly an airship, and only 17 of them are paid to do it full-time. On average, it takes pilots 10-15 hours to learn how to fly a single-engine plane, but for a pilot to go on their first solo trip in an airship, it takes 250-400 hours of training. With the advancement of drones, the need for blimps has declined even further. Today there are about 25 blimps still in existence, with only about half of them actually in use for advertising purposes.