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Zeppelin in flight
The De Beers Zeppelin-NT in flight near Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. The airship typically takes off at sunset and flies for six or seven hours a night, when there is less turbulence. It can cover as many as 300 kilometers (about 186 miles) in a day, compared with 5 kilometers (just over 3 miles) for a ground crew, according to a survey team member.
The De Beers aircraft is Zeppelin NT-07. The New Technology Zeppelin, which had its maiden flight in 1997, has framework that weighs about a ton. The cabin, engines and other main airship components all connect to the rigid structure, which has triangular carbon fiber frames and three aluminum longerons.
The envelope of the NT airship, made of many layers of laminated fabric, holds helium gas.