America by Air: We Got a Blimp!

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.
Allan Janus

I spoke too soon when I noted last night that we’ve only received aerial photos from airplanes so far:

I hope it’s not too late to submit a photo! This one was taken from the Shamu blimp over Virginia around 1990. The blimp came from SeaWorld to Manassas Airport to provide camera services for a University of Virginia football game. I was lucky enough to snag a seat on a practice flight the day before the game. We took off from Manassas and cruised over the Virginia countryside to Charlottesville. We orbited the stadium for a bit, then flew over Monticello, and basically had a beautiful sightseeing tour over the Valley of Virginia in the fine fall weather.

At one point, we were joined by the friendly little biplane in my picture. (In the background is the Blue Ridge, or maybe it’s the Alleghenies...) We were in the air for about six hours, and after seeing a beautiful sunset, we landed by the light of the full Harvest Moon. A magical flight …

Anyway, I doubt you’ll see many more contemporary shots of a biplane in flight, taken from an airship.

Previous blimp blogging here.