Zeppelin redirects here. For the 1971 film of the same name, see Zeppelin (film).

The USS Akron from 1931


Early airship designs.

An airship or dirigible is a lighter-than-air aircraft that can be directed on its course through the air using rudders and propellers or other thrust. Unlike other aerodynamic aircraft, such as fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, airships and balloons stay aloft by filling a large cavity, such as a balloon, with a lifting gas. For a complete article on these fantastic machines, see the Wikipedia.


Airships are popular forms of transport in steampunk stories. Varieties of airships vary widely. One of the main types of airship is known as non-rigid, but such airships are commonly called blimps. They are uncommon in steampunk stories, wherein the preference is for a more industrial and mechanical aesthetic. Semi-rigid airships are slightly more common and are slightly larger than non-rigid types. They also contain an internal support structure known as a keel. Rigid airships are the most common in steampunk stories. These airships are a great deal larger than their softer counterparts, and can cover greater distances, giving them the ability to cross most of Earth's oceans. Their use in the real world fell drastically after the Hindenburg disaster, which is the basis for the film Hindenburg. The Hindenburg disaster occurred in 1937, long after both the Victorian and Edwardian eras had ended.

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