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Zeppelin makes Oklahoma City stop

The Farmers Airship, also known as the Eureka, made a stop in Oklahoma City on Monday. The 246-foot, 14,000 pound airship has been touring the country for the past six months, and is set to return to its California home about three weeks from now.
BY MATT DINGER Published: September 20, 2011

When not traveling the country, the airship is used for a variety of purposes, including tours, sporting event coverage and military and scientific missions. Since the airship can hover like a helicopter and is very quiet, its reconnaissance abilities are unparalleled by other aircraft.

Recently, it's been used to research whales over waters on the West Coast.

“We could fly at 500 feet over the ocean, and the whales don't even know we're there,” Finney said.

Because of the position of the propellers, the airship can rotate 360 degrees and climb in altitude with very little forward motion. It can stay in the air up to 24 hours, compared to the three- or four-hour flights of helicopters.

The cost of the zeppelin itself is $16 million, but “that doesn't include the shipping and handling,” Finney said.

The airship was manufactured by a German company. Getting it to the states and certified by flight authorities pushed the price tag up to about $30 million, he said.

A one-hour tour in one of its 12 passenger seats is $495.