Four trucks pulling trailers, similar to a hot-air balloon's "chase
crew," entered the airport ahead of the blimp. Eight men jumped out
of the trucks and prepared to help secure the blimp once it landed.
The big blue and white blimp approached the grass runway, where the
men grabbed ropes that hung down to help stabilize it.
to the accountant from the crew, the helium- and air-filled aircraft
continues to run while refueling so that if a strong enough wind
comes along, it takes off instead of falling over. As the wind moved
the football-shaped balloon on the airstrip, the pilot moved the
rudders so it didn't fall over. He also told the men on the ground
which way to go to help stabilize it.
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A handful of passersby looked on as the men took gas cans and
refueled the craft by hand.
This blimp, which can carry three or four people in the gondola
below the envelope, cruises between 50 and 70 mph and was headed to
St. Louis, where it will take cameras in the air to film the Rams'
football game next Sunday.
Once the refueling was completed, the men hoisted the gondola
into the air, the blimp did a tight circle and headed south.
[Story and picture provided by Debbie Last]