Welcome to the 2020 Autocar Christmas Road Test, which is of The Goodyear Blimp. Or, more accurately, a Zeppelin LZ N07-101.
The Zeppelin is what’s called a hybrid or semi-rigid airship, which has a framework inside it but one which doesn’t restrain the balloon (or envelope), which takes its shape from gas pressure alone.
In this case, that’s some 7500cu.m of helium, to offset the Zeppelin’s 7500kg of mass, making this airship almost – though not quite – lighter than air. Around 95% of its lift comes from the helium, with the rest coming through aerodynamics or engine thrust, depending on speed, or load, and more. It’s quite a complicated machine.
So join us as we aim to make it simple. We explain how this Zeppelin has 600bhp from three engines, a top speed of 78mph, a maximum altitude of 3000m, a range of more than 600 miles and an endurance of 22 hours.
We find out how it works and how to fly it. It’s all here, in the world-famous Autocar Christmas Road Test for 2020.