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Jim brings 27 years of airship and regulatory knowledge to the team. Starting with America's longest-running commercial airship program, Goodyear, in 1981. Jim's operations career has spanned the globe. From the US, UK and Germany to more exotic locations including Argentina, Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore, Turkey, Malaysia, South Africa, Portugal, Slovakia and Poland, Jim has had the pleasure of flying airships in some of the most beautiful places in the world, and the challenge of having solved the regulatory issues involved with each. Jim holds US, UK and German airship ratings, and has logged more than 9000 flight hours in airships. Jim held several key positions, including Director of Operations, Director of Quality & Training, and Chief Pilot for The Lightship Group, and held the posts of President and Director of Operations for Virgin Lightships. Most recently he served as senior pilot for the U.S. Navy Airship Project, one of many federal projects utilizing airships for a variety of scientific purposes. Jim is a Member of the FAA rule-making Advisory Committee on Airships, and held the FAI absolute world speed record in airships until 2004.
Kate holds several distinctions, including being a member of an elite group even more rare than female astronauts -- female airship pilots. Kate however, holds an even more prestigious title—the only female Zeppelin pilot in the world. From her first instruction flight at the age of 18, Kate has risen fast in the male-dominated world of airships. One of her first aviation positions, with Virgin Hot Air Balloon flights, led to her first airship position, with Virgin Lightships. Beginning as a ground crewman, she eventually worked her way up to pilot, and has CAA, LBA and FAA commercial airship licenses. Kate has flown extensively in Europe and America, logging more than 5,000 flight hours. At 5-feet 2-inches tall, she commands the largest airship in the world.
(courtesy of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik)
Fritz began his career in aviation as a glider pilot in the former East Germany, transitioning to training as a pilot for fixed wing aircraft up to 5.7 tons and eventually being selected as a Flight Instructor for the elite Fliegerkosmonaut S. Jähn flight academy, providing initial pilots training for military jet pilots. Fritz then joined airship operator Westdeutsche Luftwerbung (WDL), serving as Line Pilot and Supervision Pilot for the airship and taking responsibility for the operational introduction of the airship to the US east coast. Fritz’s airship career advanced in 1998 when he was asked to join Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH. Progressing from Test Pilot rating, to Supervision Pilot, to Flight Instructor on the Zeppelin N07, he served ZLT as test pilot for ongoing Zeppelin N07 test flights and the LBA Type certification operations. Since 2001, Fritz has served as Director of Flight Operations for Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei, responsible for the management of all DZR flight operations, including flight crew training and management, operations and resources planning, and overall budgeting. Fritz has logged more than 6,680 airship flight hours, including 6,020 as Pilot-In-Command. He holds Airship Ratings on WDL 1, WDL 1B, Skyship 500 HL and LZ N07, and holds pilot licenses in Germany, USA, and Japan. He currently serves as an LBA Examiner, and member of the LBA Examiners Council.
(courtesy of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik)
Paul started his flight career in 1993, first moving from Germany to California and then on to New York to learn to fly helicopters. His many interests led him, a few years later, back to Germany to work on a Political Science degree. Near the end of his schooling, however, he happened on a chance to become an blimp pilot for The Lightship Group and jumped at the opportunity, rising to become chief pilot and leaving any Political Science career postponed "until retirement." From there he went on to work for Zeppelin, piloting the Zeppelin NT, and now returns with one to California as a Flight Instructor Consultant for Airship Ventures.