An antique-themed airship, based on modern designs, will soon be plying the skies between Tiperon and Blacktip islands if its promoters can get the ambitious project off the ground. (photo courtesy of lordkinbote)
Travelers bound for Blacktip Island in the future will have the option of arriving from Tiperon Island via antique lighter-than-air dirigible, say the service’s creators.
“We’re looking at a commuter service that’s more ecofriendly and more stylish than petroleum-burning aircraft,” island entrepreneur Rich Skerritt said. “An old-school airship seemed perfect. It’s slower than an airplane, sure, but it’s as fast as a boat without the worry of rough seas, and it’s way better for the environment. We’re calling it ‘One Nation In Dirigible.’
“We’ll trick out the gondola in Victorian style, like you’d see in an old Jules Verne movie,” Skerritt said. “It’ll have comfy armchairs, a full bar, a pipe-smoking lounge, the whole shebang. We’re playing up the nostalgia to draw passengers who want more from their travel than just a quick commute.”
One Nation In Dirigible’s co-creator said the slow service is a major selling point.
“Upwind, Tiperon to Blacktip, it’ll take about six hours,” Piers ‘Doc’ Planck said. “Downwind, maybe three or four, depending on the wind. We tell passengers not to think of it as a slow ride, but as the bookends of a stylish vacation.
“‘We’ll get there when we get there’ is our motto,” Planck said. “It’s not much different from sailing, really. Passengers can sit back, enjoy the ride and channel their inner steampunk. There’s an interest in old-ee time-ee stuff these days.”
Interest in the service has been high, despite the group not yet having an aircraft.
“Sure, it’s a niche market, but people’re willing to pay top dollar for it,” chamber of commerce president Goldy Gobie said. “They’ve sold a bunch of advance tickets. We’re hoping a unique service like this really draws a new kind of visitor to the island.”
Travelers say a period airship adds an air of glamor to their trips.
“I’ve always regretted being born too young to experience blimp travel,” Patty Palometta said. “Now I can find out firsthand what it’s like to cruise along above the clouds with no sound but the wind whistling by the windows. Unless it catches fire.”
One Nation In Dirigible’s creators downplayed safety concerns.
“Helium’ll provide lift, not hydrogen like with the airship whose name we don’t say, but that starts with ‘H,’” Skerritt said. “Tire company blimps fly thousands of hours every year without a mishap.
“We’re still tweaking the design until we find what works best,” Skerritt said. “Then we’ll decorate it like your grandma’s sitting room and we’re in business. It may take a while to get it just right, but that shouldn’t discourage folks from buying advance tickets. Any tickets you buy today will be honored. Someday. Somehow.”