When you look up gumption in the dictionary, you should find a reference to this July, 1931 Popular Science article entitled "Anyone Can Fly a Blimp." Ah, the sweet promises of yesteryear. We have been betrayed by the future comrades. I want to fly a blimp, dammit.
On the top end of the rope was a parachute. Untrustworthy as it may have been, it was better to clutch the three- quarter-inch manila than to ride a burning hydrogen bag down. In these modern blimps, however, there is no fire hazard. Helium will not burn and for that property blimp owners pay $60 for each thousand cubic feet. It costs $4,500 to fill her with 76,000 cubic feet of helium, and nearly $100 a month to replace in the envelope the helium that seeps through the rubberized fabric.
Here we were, comfortable in upholstered chairs, looking out from an inclosed five-passenger cabin, suspended beneath a gas-filled bag that, barring some nearly-impossible accident that would tear a great hole in the top, would bring us to earth under any circumstances. No parachutes here–no need for them.
WERE the blimp to become disabled, the motors to stop, Smithy would merely free-balloon her down again on some level spot, deflate the bag if necessary, and wait for help. These blimp pilots, you see, must become pilots of free balloons before they're trusted with one of the six in the Goodyear fleet.