September 28, 2013
The US Naval Research Laboratory has been conducting aerial mapping operations with a blimp over the areas surrounding Washington DC since Saturday, September 21. The aerial mapping will cease on Oct. 5.
The blimp, a US Navy MZ-3A, has been operating under special approval of the US FAA and the TSA. The aerial mapping will be conducted within the Washington D.C. Flight Restriction Zone (DCA-FRZ) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Md., at U.S. Army Fort Belvoir in Fairfax, Va. and within the DCA-Special Flight Restrictions Area. At times the blimp will travel the region to the north to Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland and to the southwest near Culpepper, Va.
The MZ-3A is government-owned and operated by contractor Integrated Systems Solutions, Inc.
The 178-foot MZ-3A blimp can travel at a top speed just under 50 knots and can remain aloft and nearly stationary for more than twelve hours.
This article was posted: Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 4:44 am