Flying the Fujifilm Blimp

NPR's Margot Adler Soars Above Coney Island

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NPR's Margot Adler helps pilot the Fujifilm Blimp.

NPR's Margot Adler helps pilot the Fujifilm Blimp. hide caption

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The Fujifilm Blimp

The Fujifilm Blimp hide caption

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For NPR's Margot Adler, it was the ride of a lifetime. After decades of looking up at the blimps that prowl the skies over New York City, Adler recently got the chance to drive one.

"When you see a blimp up in the sky — and I see a lot of them, living in Manhattan — you don't see the people in the gondola," Adler says. "Now I know intellectually that people are sitting in this little cabin below the part I see — the big helium structure with the words Goodyear or MetLife or Fujifilm — but there's a part of me that always believed that if there were really people in there, they were riding in that huge helium-filled egg."

Adler freed herself of that misconception when she was offered the opportunity to co-pilot the Fujifilm Blimp. Staffed by 22 people, the blimp is moored at Floyd Benett Field in Brooklyn. Guided by pilot Mike Hans, who's been flying the airship for 13 years, Adler helped steer the blimp over New York's Coney Island. The experience "felt like driving a floating car," she says.

"The view was spectacular, even on a foggy day," Adler says. "But after we landed, I realized I would never again think of airships as floating eggs."

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