The First Flight - History
2011 Sep 26The George Brazil Airship was a dream of founder, George Brazil's since the home services company's inception in 1955. Brazil had always had a fascination with hot air balloons, and particularly liked the idea of using them as advertising media, a traveling billboard that would catch the eye of anyone it passed. However, he understood that with a traditional hot air balloon, you have little control over what direction the balloon actually travels in and whether or not anyone actually gets to see the balloon float by. A little over ten years ago, Brazil discovered the airship and set out researching what it would take to have an airship manufactured with his business' logo printed on either side for everyone to see.
After dreaming of hot air balloons for almost 55 years, Brazil contracted a German-based company, Gefa-Flug to design and build a four-passenger airship in August of 2010. Less than a year later, in July 2011, the airship arrived.
After finally receiving the airship, Brazil then had to find someone who was licensed and able to fly the airship for him. Since the George Brazil Airship was only one of two airships in the United States at the time, the other belonging to Green Peace, this was no easy task. He decided to have German flight specialists flown over to spend several months training a team to operate the airship and on September 25, 2011, the airship took its first flight over the Arizona valley.
Since then, the airship has flown as much as possible, usually anywhere from 3-4 times a week. The airship launches from five different points, scattered throughout the valley, but can be flown out of any field or airstrip. The preparation for any flight is approximately 45 minutes, for anywhere from 45 to 75 minutes of airtime, depending on weather conditions. Since the airship is sensitive to wind or hot climate, the best time for flying is during the cooler months of winter and spring. The airship has a maximum elevation capacity of 1000 feet but must be flown at least 1000 feet over city limits.
After over half a century of dreaming, Brazil finally had his airship and loved that not only is it an excellent form of advertising, but also a way to give back to the community. Since its first launch, Brazil had contacted Big Brothers Big Sisters of Arizona and had local children on flights. We continue to honor local charities with free rides and entertainment on the airship. George Brazil, sadly, passed away in May of 2012, but the airship lives on in his loving memory.