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Aerospace research company tests out new blimp in northern San Luis Obispo County

white blimp.jpg
Posted at 4:02 PM, Oct 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-19 19:07:55-04

You may have noticed a white blimp in the sky over Northern San Luis Obispo County over the past couple of days.

We've received phone calls and emails asking what it's doing here.

It's even made some brief stops at the Paso Robles Airport.

The giant blimp flying over the Jardine area is an airship run by the company, LTA Research.

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

Neighbors along Beacon Road and beyond couldn't help but wonder what it's all about.

"It just was flying around a lot and then landing at the airport again and taking off and landing again, taking off and landing again so it was very interesting to see it right over the house," said Jardine resident, Iny Huff.

"The blimp didn't have any markings on it," said another Jardine resident, Lacey Clifton-Jensen. "As soon as I was told, 'Hey, there's a blimp outside,' I was expecting to go out and see the Goodyear blimp or some other such branded item."

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

The aerospace research and development company founded by Google's co-founder has locations all over the map including Sunnyvale and Mountain View, California, Gardnerville, Nevada and Akron, Ohio.

They're working to increase the capabilities and lower the cost of 21st-century airships.

"Occasionally, we've seen them through the years like the Goodyear blimps would stop between LA and San Francisco going for football games but this was definitely an eye-catcher," Huff said.

The company's goal is to improve humanitarian aid delivery while offering a zero-emissions alternative to airplanes.

The company says its airships will have the ability to respond to disasters by delivering goods or rescuing people. More specifically, their vision is to zero in on remote areas that cannot be easily accessed by plane or boat due to limited or destroyed infrastructure.

"It was just cool to see it," Huff said. "We see lots of big things. We see the military planes and this kind of stuff but this was very different. This was unusual."

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

There's no word on what the airship in Paso Robles is called.

The airship has reportedly been spotted in Salinas in recent days as well.