WUFT News

Weather Kept A Giant Blimp Grounded This Week In Ocala

By on September 25th, 2013

One of the world’s largest blimps, the Spirit of George, rests on the Dunnellon/Marion County Airport airfield just west of Ocala.

Pilots in association with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) plan to take the giant blimp as part of a project called Cloud Lab across the U.S. to San Francisco, while stopping at 10 to 15 locations. Now, weather has stalled the project by at least one day.

Cloud Lab aims to search clouds for insects and microbes in hopes of advancing scientific exploration.

James Van Der Pool is the BBC series producer who is in charge of Cloud Lab.

“The very thing we are trying to study is the thing that is controlling our progress,” Van Der Pool said of the weather.

The BBC team intended to take off early Tuesday around 8 a.m., but heavy rain added weight to the balloon of the blimp making it hard to pilot.

Kevin Walston, 27-year-old senior groundsman for Spirit of George, releases the mast, which serves as an anchor for the blimp, and gives directions for takeoff.

“Pilots decide whether to fly or not,” he said.

David Burns, the chief pilot from Skyship Services, said the blimp generally flies at about 1,500 feet above the ground.

“We’re aiming north for a much drier area,” he said. “Hopefully that will allow us to get clean of this area and (move) further west.”

The blimp will lift off for its next destination, Alabama, when the weather clears up.   The team said it hopes this will happen soon.

The contract for the blimp ends on Oct. 15.


This entry was posted in Weather and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Weather

Much of the association’s property remains submerged in water or muck which poses health concerns for the horses on the property.  The association is prevented from running their horses out for adoption due to the wet conditions of their paddocks.

Heavy Rains Pose Health Risks for Rescued Horses

The heavy rainfall may lead to serious health problems for horses in a Marion County horse rescue organization. The Horse Protection Association of Florida has a drainage problem on their land that has lead to standing water that may harm the horses.


Flood-Tracking Chart-page-002

New Chart Helps Predict Withlacoochee And Little River Floods

A new flood chart will help residents along the Little and Withlacoochee River gauge how they could be affected by severe flooding in the future. Some city officials also believe the chart will be useful for Floridians farther south near the Suwannee River.


Strawberries at Norman’s Farm’s vegetable stand on Monday in Starke, Fla.

Strawberry Market Heats Up During Cold Snaps

Strawberry producers are feeling the heat from the cold temperatures. Output is low and prices are rising for strawberries this season.


Ocala Fire Rescue, Salvation Army collect winter clothing for homeless residents

Recent cold weather has posed challenges for homeless residents faced with the colder temperatures. In response, the Ocala Fire Rescue and the Salvation Army have organized a clothing drive that ends Thursday.


1537690179_607553cae3_m

Ice Protects North Central Florida Strawberries from Colder Temperatures

Strawberries are being frozen to prevent damage from below-freezing temperatures.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments