By Qin Xie
A man from Ningling, central China, has successfully built a zeppelin so he could make his childhood dream of flying a reality.
Shi Songbo spent 300,000 Yuan ($47,000) on the zeppelin, which successfully completed a two-hour test flight near his home on Sunday, reported People’s Daily Online.
The 29-year-old inventor hopes that the airship might be used to distribute pesticide, in aerial surveying or tourism in the future.
Shi Songbo conducted his first official flight on October 25 in a field near his home under the direction of friend Shang Jianjun, who acted as a dispatcher.
Along with his co-pilot Li Kai, the inventor made several different maneuvers and successfully took off and landed eight times over the space of two hours split between the morning and afternoon.
Speaking of his first aerial experience, Shi said: ‘There were lots of low-hanging electricity cables. Because I was worried about bumping into the cables, everything had to be under the direction of the dispatcher.’ He added, ‘My co-pilot was my eyes and ears. He helped to monitor my surroundings.’
For Shi, who got interested in aircrafts from a young age, this was a dream come true. Although his family have been farmers for several generations, his brother attended the Aeronautical Engineering Institute in Xi’an, central China.
As a result of his studies, Shi’s brother always brought home aeronautical engineering magazines and reading material, which got Shi interested in the techniques involved in building an aircraft. Eventually, Shi would go on to work for an aerial model company as a designer, which gave him greater understanding of the composition of a plane.
In June this year, Shi was let go from his job, which prompted him to start building his ‘Songbo’ zeppelin. The zeppelin is about 33 feet tall and 75 feet long. The top portion is composed of a hydrogen-filled airbag while the bottom is made up of the seat and controls.
Shi spent around four months and 300,000 Yuan ($47,000) on the zeppelin, with many of the components imported from Germany and the USA. It is able to travel just over 30 miles per hour at 1,640 feet above the ground while carrying two people.
Shi explained that there are many benefits of flying a zeppelin rather than a normal air craft. For example, a zeppelin is relatively easy to fly, it’s cheap and it’s generally quite safe.
The zeppelin prototype will need additional testing but Shi hopes that it could be used to distribute pesticide, aerial surveying or tourism in the future.
Source: Daily Mail – dailymail.co.uk