Residents in the Rogue Valley had a rare opportunity to view the Zeppelin airship Eureka in August of 2010 when it was on a five-city tour of the Pacific Northwest. Its first touchdown in Oregon was at the Rogue Valley International Airport.
German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin originally invented the airships using metal frames that allowed them to cover longer distances. They were used as transport craft and as aerial scouts during World War I.
Airship Ventures from San Francisco owned and operated the Eureka, the largest airship to touch down in Medford’s aviation history. Bern Case, the airport director, remarked, “We believe this will be the largest aircraft per cubic foot to land at the airport. We had to go out and mark off the perimeter just to make sure there would be room for the ship to fit!” The aircraft measured 246 feet in length, or 15 feet longer than a Boeing 747.
The Eureka was grounded in 2012 when the high cost of helium dissuaded sponsors. Airship Ventures dismantled the ship and ceased flight operations the same year. The dismantled ship was returned to its German manufacturers.
Sources: Finz, Stacy. “Airship Ventures Ends Operations.” Sfgate.com. SF Chronicle, 15 Nov 2012. Web. 10 June 2014; “Zeppelin Visits Medford Airport August 14-17.” Lake Shastina Bulletin Board, 12 Aug. 2010. Web. 9 June 2014; “Big Aircraft arrives Saturday.” MailTribune.com.[Medford, Ore.] 12 Aug. 2010. Web. 9 June 2014.