Twin brothers Josh and Jake Aron got a bird’s-eye view of Dallas-Fort Worth on Thursday.
The bird that carried them was bigger than a jumbo jet, quiet as a cat and lighter than air.
“It was awesome!” said 9-year-old Jake, of Dallas. “But we didn’t get to go to school and brag about it to our friends today; we gotta wait.”
This weekend, residents across the area may catch a glimpse of the Farmers airship, the largest in the world and one of only two zeppelins flying commercially. The dirigible, dubbed Eureka, is making the final stop on its six-month Covering Communities Tour.
The Aron twins were invited with their parents, Jaime and Lori, and older brother Zac to ride Eureka on Thursday morning on behalf of Farmers Insurance and the March of Dimes.
“They … asked if we’d like to do this, and who wouldn’t want to?” Jaime Aron said. “We’ve been so fortunate to have so many great experiences on behalf of March of Dimes.”
Josh and Jake were born four months premature, and the family has been ambassadors for the March of Dimes for the past six years. They said Thursday’s flight was the experience of a lifetime.
“My alarm was set for 5:40,” Jaime Aron said, “and he [Jake] woke me up at 5:39, and he was already dressed. … So he was a wee bit looking forward to it.”
The Arons’ trip was on the house, but limited seats were available this weekend for a shade over $500 for a one-hour trip or $1,000 for two hours. For more information, or to track the airship’s journeys throughout the world, go to airshipventures.com.
According to Airship Ventures, owner and operator of Eureka, the zeppelin is 246 feet long and travels at an average speed of 35 mph and an altitude of 1,200 feet. Its internal framework distinguishes it from the more common blimps. The airship’s gondola holds 12 passengers, complete with a restroom and views from every angle.
“Sometimes I’ll see kids during playtime at school waving, so I’ll make a few spins to let them know I see them,” said Eureka’s pilot, Katharine Board. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Board, the only female zeppelin pilot in the world, said she flies with people who have wanted to ride an airship their whole lives and feels fortunate to make those dreams come true. She also enjoys proving to youngsters that anything is possible.
“I really notice being the only woman pilot when I hear a dad tell his daughter she can do whatever she wants,” she said.
The red, white and blue airship lifts off for its last trip around the area on Sunday at Fort Worth’s Alliance Airport.