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World’s largest airship coming to Philly to give rides

The world's biggest passenger airship was supposed to be giving rides over Philadelphia today.

The world's biggest passenger airship was supposed to be giving rides over Philadelphia today.

Instead, this morning, it's doing a New York City flyover - the first by a Zeppelin there since the Hindenberg flew over Manhattan in 1937 on its way to infamously exploding while attempting to dock at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Ocean County, N.J.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, however, folks in Center City and even South Jersey should see the craft soaring overhead carrying passengers on tours out of Northeast Airport.

Filled with non-combustible helium - not hydrogen, like the Hindenberg - the 246-foot-long Farmers Airship has being making a six-month national tour that includes some TV work, like aerial coverage of Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.

The signage on the ship explains the name, including "Farmers Insurance Group" and an 800 number.

The tours, carrying up to a dozen passengers, will cost $375 person for a 45-minute ride, $495 for an hourlong one, plus taxes. A wraparound window gives views in all directions, and the craft even has a restroom.

See a virtual 360-degree view at (Drag on the image to make it turn.)

Book by calling 650-969-8100, Ext. 111, or emailing

The craft, wrapped in composite materials created by Delaware-based spacesuit-maker ILC Dover, has been operating in the United States since 2008, according to Rachel Loya, spokeswoman for Northern California-based Airship Ventures.

Unlike blimps, German-made Zeppelins have a skeletal frame for support. They both fall in the "airship" category, which doesn't include airplanes. The longest passenger plane, the Boeing 747-8, is just a few feet longer than the Farmers Airship.

Philadelphia will be the seventh passenger stop on the craft's current tour.