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Research firm tests new airship in northern SLO County

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You may have noticed a white airship in the sky over northern San Luis Obispo County in the past two days.

We’ve had phone calls and emails asking what he’s doing here.

He even made a few brief stops at Paso Robles Airport.

The giant airship flying over the Jardine region is an airship managed by the company LTA Research.

It is the next generation of airship and the skies of North County are used for test flights.

Neighbors on Beacon Road and beyond couldn’t help but wonder what it was.

“It flew a lot, then landed again at the airport and took off and landed again, took off and landed again, so it was very interesting to see it right above the house,” said Iny Huff, a resident of Jardine.

“The airship had no markings on it,” said fellow Jardine resident Lacey Clifton-Jensen. “As soon as I was told, ‘Hey, there’s an airship out there,’ I expected to go out and see the Goodyear airship or something like that.”

Lighter Than Air Research is behind the airship that captured the curiosity of residents who live near Paso Robles Airport.

The aerospace research and development company founded by the Google co-founder is found all over the map, including Sunnyvale and Mountain View, Calif., Gardnerville, Nevada and Akron, Ohio.

They strive to increase the capabilities and reduce the cost of 21st century airships.

“Sometimes we’ve seen them over the years as if Goodyear’s airships stop between LA and San Francisco for soccer games, but it definitely got some attention,” Huff said.

The company’s objective is to improve the delivery of humanitarian aid while offering a zero-emission alternative to airplanes.

The company says its airships will have the ability to respond to disasters by delivering goods or saving people. Specifically, their vision is to target remote areas that are not easily accessible by plane or boat due to limited or destroyed infrastructure.

“It was just cool to see him,” Huff said. “We see a lot of great things. We see military planes and that sort of thing, but it was very different. It was unusual.”

The company is building a 400-foot Pathfinder 1 airship in Sunnyvale. They also have a much bigger Pathfinder 3 in the works.

It is not known what the Paso Robles airship is called.

The airship has also reportedly been spotted in Salinas in recent days.



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