Navy blimp hovers over Gulf on oil spill duty
The blimp's crew will radio directly to boats below when they see oil or wildlife that needs attention
Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 03:44 PM
UP IN THE AIR: Government officials say the blimp will improve their ability to track and respond to the spill because it can move slowly and stay aloft for up to 12 hours at a time. (Photo: Matthew Brown/AP)
A Navy blimp has started looking for oil and distressed wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Coast Guard commander of the operation, Tony Lombardi, said Sunday that initial flights are over the coast of Alabama, but the missions will be expanded as needed and as the weather allows.
Observers are typically operating from an altitude of 300 to 500 feet in the 178-foot-long airship, which can come to an almost complete stop.
Lombardi says the crew will radio directly to boats below when they see oil or wildlife that needs attention.
So far, the blimp has spotted problems with boom that needed repairs. It's operated by a Navy contractor and staffed by the Coast Guard.
Copyright 2010 AP News