Passenger airplanes, such as Boeing 747s, are probably what come to mind when you think of modern aviation. Victoria, which has the only international airport ever closed because of killer whales, has a wide variety of airplanes, for personal and commercial use. This city sports a few different airports and flying clubs, and even has its share of hot air balloons. What you don’t often see in modern aviation- here, or anywhere- is the rigid airship, or rather what is commonly known as the blimp.
Hot air balloons were really what began the modern age of aviation. Using lighter-than-air flight, the first hot air balloon was designed in 1783 by the Montgolfier brothers. However, it was quickly found that the practical use of hot air balloons was rather limited, since they were only able to travel downwind. Thus, a steerable airship, or dirigible, was required; in 1785, Jean-Pierre Blanchard crossed the English Channel in the first human-powered version of this craft.
Rigid airships, which were essentially dirigibles with a more rigid construction, became the first type of craft in the history of modern aviation to act as long-distance transport vehicles for both passengers and cargo. The most famous manufacturer of rigid airships was the German Zeppelin company- their brand name essentially became synonymous with this type of aviation. The golden age of the rigid airship began to wane, however, with the introduction of the airplane into the field of aviation, and came to an abrupt end with the destruction of the Hindenburg in 1937.
Aviation, in Victoria, is a field that is now dominated by large passenger airplanes, occupying a space in history that used to belong to hot air balloons and rigid aircraft.