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Zeppelin

LTA Mexico

Airships have made their way into Latin America. Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont flew his dirigibles in the early 1900s in France. The Zeppelin Company operated commercial flights between Germany and Brazil in the 1930s -- both the LZ127 and LZ129 made the transatlantic crossings. Goodyear operates a blimp in South America based in Sao Paulo, Brazil -- Spirit of the Americas. But it wasn't until recently that modern airships have flown in Mexico.

During WWII. Airships conducted extensive anti-submarine operations in French Morocco, Brazil, and France. Airships were on patrol around the globe, taking part in operations in and above such countries as Cuba, Italy, Columbia, Panama, and Mexico.

Mid-1970s - 1990. Mario Sanchez Roldan and Michael K. Walden co-designed the lenticular MLA series of rigid airships. This first resulted in a radio controlled model XEM-4, and later three full scaled rigid airships: MLA-24, MLA-32-A and MLA-32-B. These were built and test flown by Roldan's company SPACIAL and George Stokes between 1980 and 1990. The last in the series, the MLA-32-B was the first manned fully rigid framed airship to have flown in over 50 years. The MLA-32-B flew over Mexico City doing an advertizing run for a Mexican potato chip company. The MLA-32-B was destroyed after landing near a village in 1990. Mario Sanchez Roldan was killed in an auto accident a few weeks later.

October 1998. A Lightship Group-operated A-150 blimp flew from Texas to Mexico City, operating there at over 8500 feet (2590 meters) while carrying a pilot and three passengers.

March 2000. The Stars & Stripes made the first visit of a Goodyear blimp to Mexico. The airship crossed the border at Laredo, Texas and continued on to Monterrey. There it made several public appearances, flashed public service announcements on its electronic sign, and provided local customers, dignitaries and media with rides.

 
This site was created, written and is maintained by John Dziadecki 1995-2014. Images and quotes that are not the author's remain in the copyright of the originator. The information contained in this website is for educational purposes only. Additions and corrections are welcomed! Please send comments, suggestions and possible links to John.Dziadecki@colorado.edu. Last update: 7 July 2006