Graf Zeppelin III

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The Graf Zeppelin III (commonly referred to as "The Graf" or GZ3), registration number GZ-3, is one of nine rigid frame Airships built for combating wild fires in the 2030s. The GZ-3's keel was laid down in 2033 and she entered service in 2034 after completing flight trials. The Graf was the flagship of the Fire Prevention & Combat Fleet until replaced by the SAS-12 (Sinclare AirShip) Athena in 2044. Originally only 5 Airships were slated to be built, but thanks to cost savings measures 4 more were added to the fleet.

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Cortez Fire Incident

The Cortez Fire was a large wildfire in southern California. The Graf Zeppelin III was not part of the initial response to the fire but was instrumental in saving the lives of several hundred people. It an exceptional rescue given that prior to the Graf's arrival at this fire event she had been severely damaged. It is no‽₳ᾁᾼ῟ῼѪЪѯѥѦ؟ې۸ݹץז৷ছ৮῟ῼѪЪѯѥѦ؟ېబఌඦෙඒॄॾऻઈबृงឥឈះោᑏᐎᐓᐱǏỷǙỪỪʏ̃ʘɞ̯ɯ̃o̯῟ῼѪЪѯѥѦ؟ېoᾂᾁᾼ῟ῼѪЪѯѥѦ؟ې۸ݹץז৷ছ₵₭৳±§‽₳฿‡πΉΨαῆᾣ৮௯బఌඦෙඒॄॾऻઈबສດḏṁ₡₥ลงឥສດḏṁ₡₥liʅɱ̍n̪ʘɛ̃ɨ̯i̯ສດḏṁ₡₥liʅɱ̍n̪ʘɛ̃ɨ̯i̯बृลliʅɱ̍n̪ឥឈះោᑏᐎᐓᐱສດḏṁ₡₥liʅɱ̍n̪Ǐ฿‡πΉສດḏṁ₡₥liʅɱ̍n̪Ψα...Fragmentary Encryption Anomaly; Information irretrievable, data stream terminated.

Commercial Passenger Service Trials

During the first winter (non-fire season) after its construction, the Graf was used to test the viability of commercial passenger travel by airship. Speed tests were conducted and flights from west to east over the continental US that utilize the jet stream achieved ground relative speeds approaching 500 miles per hour on some occasions. This is comparable to typical jetliner speeds.

Existing multiple retractable landing platforms that provide VTOL landings on the upper hull were utilized for testing the viability of 'Non-Stop Passenger Loading'.

The Graf Zeppelin III was the first of nine airships in the Graf Class built to combat the worsening wildfires that had been steadily growing in number and intensity through the first part of the 21st century.  They were built because fixed wing aircraft that had long been used for dropping fire retardent had become less and less effective. Aircraft and pilots were abundantly available after the collapse of the airline industry shortly after the beginning of the Long Recession, but growing environmental concerns about the use of fire retardent signaled their demise.  That, combined with what became a regularly occuring scene of horrific accidents motivated government officials to  find more effective alternatives.

A second and third generation of purpose built airships had been designed and built during her service.  Even though the newer airships had radically advanced designs and technological improvements, the Graf was still a formitable weapon in battling any type of fire.  It was a frequent topic of conversation that that the Graf should be retired, but she kept proving her worth so it never happened.

The Graf Class conceived and constructed at a time when money and materials were all in short supply because of the Long Recession.  As part of the cost saving measures, designs for the structure of the airships were take from the contemporary age of German Zeppelin technology.  The result being the Graf Class had the traditional tapered cylindrical cigar shape of many blimps and dirigibles preceeding them.  One notable and obvious change from previous German Zeppelins was the use of helium over explosive hydrogen.  Every system and component of the ships were sourced from “off the shelf” technology that required minimal adaptation.

The Graf Zeppelin III was not only the first airship in the fleet, it was the last.  Every other airship in the class was destroyed or damaged beyond repair during her service.  Only one of the crashes resulted in any fatalities.  Each one was attributed to falls of crew members who had neglected to secure their safety line. Further৳±§‽₳฿‡πΉΨαῆᾣᾂᾁas quite successful anѥѦ؟ې۸ݹץז৷ছ৮௯₡₥liʅɱ̍n̪liʅɱ̍n̪ʘɛ̃ɨ̯i̯बृลงឥឈះោᑏᐎ...Fragmentary Encryption Anomaly; Information irretrievable, data stream terminated.