Airships

Since the 1850s, engineers have been experimenting with powered lighter-than-air flight, essentially balloons with steering and propulsion. Like other early aeronautical experiments, the trial-and-error period was lengthy and hazardous. Dirigibles (with internal support structures) and blimps (powered balloons) were filled with lifting gases like hydrogen or helium, intended for many uses, from military and research to long-distance passenger service. The growth of the airship suffered numerous setbacks, including the famous Hindenburg disaster in 1937, and never developed into a major mode of travel. Despite the challenges, more than 150 years later, a number of airships are still in use and development around the world as cargo carriers, military platforms, promotional vehicles, and more. (See also 75 Years Since the Hindenburg Disaster).

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Manuel Medir / Getty

    Photos: Severe Drought in Europe

    Recent images from England, France, Spain, Germany, and other European countries hit by a series of heat waves this summer

  • Fatos Bytyci / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Airplane House, Mayfly Swarm, Cool Buffalo

    Historic-battle reenactments in England, the reemergence of a flooded village in Portugal, a beagle-rescue operation in Virginia, sledding at a mountain ski resort in Lesotho, and much more

  • © Tomasz Szpila / Nature TTL

    Winners of the Nature TTL Photographer of the Year 2022

    Some of the best images from a competition celebrating the natural world

  • Marco Di Marco / AP

    A New Eruption of Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall Volcano

    A fissure opened on August 3, and thousands have since made the long trek to the site to witness the new eruption.