Army Floats a Trial Balloon (

Brandreth said American Blimp is promoting the use of airships as airborne surveillance. Many people wrongly assume blimps are vulnerable to bullets fired by, say, drug runners or terrorists.

“Almost everything people think they know about blimps is wrong,” said Brandreth, citing the misconception that a bullet can bring down a blimp. The envelope is rip-proof. And many people seem to consider blimps moving targets.

“We often discover bullet holes when the airships are brought to our hangar for maintenance,” he said. “People shoot at them. Particularly in the country. We think it’s kids, not urban warfare. We just patch it up and go.”

The WaPo (reg status unknown) kicks things off here at Blimp Week II a day early, with this article introducing DC-area residents to their own Blimp Week. The 178-foot blimp, apparently manufactured by Oregon’s American Blimp Corporation, will be performing flight trials for the Army of the metropolitan area of the nation’s capitol. ABC maintains facilities in Hillsboro, Oregon and some space at the Northwest’s surviving former naval LTA base in Tillamook, a location Viv and I visited in spring, 2003, just as the war started.

American Blimp appears to be the non-advertising and tourism arm of Lightships, the primary supplier of lighter-than-air advertising and publicity ships to corporations such as Sanyo, whose vessel stopped by Seattle earlier this year.