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“a woman walks into a bar…” Floating and Cocktailing in Hendrick’s Flying Cucumber

on 15/04/15 at 3:47 pm

a woman walks into a bar...

woman-barfinal2Who would have thought? First of all, that I’d be flying in a blimp, but a Flying Cucumber? Let me tell you, it was pretty amazing. How much gin did it take to come up with this very cool promotion of flying around the country in a cucumber shaped blimp? I would love to have been in on the first pitch of that idea!

Cori Solomon & me right before our flight

Cori Solomon & me right before our flight

Here are a few interesting facts about this airship. First, banish bad thoughts of the Hindenburg and don’t refer to this blimp as a zeppelin. This ship is 44′ tall and 130′ wide, takes about 3 weeks from start to finish to assemble, is covered in 3′ x 3′ decals which are put on one at a time (see the video) and the whole cover can last several years. Because it flies so low, the blimp doesn’t need to file a flight path as it floats around using visual cues but does coordinate with airports, of course. The blimp will be flying across the country to twelve cities – Los Angeles/Long Beach was the inaugural city where I took my ride – going on to San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, South Florida, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Ann Arbor, Indianapolis and Chicago.

Yes, the blimp will fly cross country with terrific pilot, Charlie Smith, at the helm. The blimp’s top speed is 40 MPH, cruising at 25 – 30 MPH and can go 10 -12 hours on a full tank of gas. Charlie’s been flying these airships for ten years. Here’s he’s steering with this huge wheel beside him.steering

Jim Ryan, Hendrick’s national brand ambassador, created a cocktail to celebrate the grand old tradition of leisurely aviation, called “Graceful Cocktail”, after Lady Grace Drummond Hay, first lady of air travel, a Hearst journalist and the first woman to fly in a zeppelin across the Atlantic and on the Graf Zeppelin’s historic Round-the-World flight. The drink was delightful, delicious and refreshing – a blend of Hendrick’s Gin, Chardonnay, simple syrup, citric and tartaric acid and ever so slightly carbonated. Perfect for flying in The Flying Cucumber!

The firm, Van Wagner, rents out these blimps but don’t get too excited if you’re thinking Partaaay…there are only 5 airships worldwide, hence, it’s rare that a ship is available. But you can hop a ride by entering the Hendrick’s contest. Should you be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Flying Cucumber, rush and take a picture of it, post to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #HendricksGin #CucumberChallenge, and, who knows, you could be cocktailin’ in a blimp! But if you don’t see it, not to worry, post something appropriately weird and post using those hashtags as there are plenty of other prizes. How much fun is this?!

Visit the Hendrick’s very cool website for more information and enjoy a wonderful Hendrick’s gin cocktail while you’re at it!

Hendrick's lounge at the airfield

Hendrick’s lounge at the airfield

Long Beach harbor, marina & downtown from the blimp

Long Beach harbor, marina & downtown from the blimp

Gift bag included this...after the flight

Gift bag included this…after the flight