Airships

This passage discusses airships, which are sometimes known as blimps or zeppelin.

Lexile Level: 900L

Categories: History Science & Technology


An airship is an aircraft that uses a gas that is lighter than air to lift off the ground. The gas is held in a large elongated bag. Unlike hot-air balloons, airships can be easily steered. If the gas bag is flexible, like a balloon, the airship is called a blimp. If the gas bag is rigid, the airship is called a dirigible or zeppelin. Originally, airships used hydrogen as the lifting gas. Hydrogen is flammable. Newer airships use helium. Airships were used to transport passengers. They were also used by the military for bombing and scouting missions. The first commercial airline used airships before World War I. In the 1930s, airships flew regularly between Germany and North and South America. Since the 1930s, airships have not been widely used to carry passengers. The airplane is faster, more maneuverable, and less susceptible to high winds. Today airships are used as advertising, and to get a "bird's eye view" of sporting events.


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