The hottest spot in Silicon Valley, these days, appears to be Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif. First, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin got permission to use the Moffett airstrip for their personal jet, a 767-200. The place couldnâ''t be beat for convenienceâ''Google headquarters is practically across the street. And it is only going to cost them $1.3 million a year, plus an agreement to carry scientific research instruments and fly the occasional scientific mission. (This isnâ''t the first time the jet has gotten the Google boys in the news, you might remember the argument over outfitting the plane that led to the famous intervention by CEO Eric Schmidt, in which he reportedly settled a bitter argument by stating, â''Sergey, you can have whatever bed you want in your room; Larry, you can have whatever bed you want in your bedroom. Letâ''s move on.â'')
Now, a Los Gatos sightseeing company, Airship Ventures, is looking to park a Zeppelin at Moffett Field. That won't happen, however, in the famous Hangar One, built to house the USS Macon in 1934. Hangar One, a Silicon Valley landmark, will either face a wrecking ball or be preserved as an aviation museum, its fate is being contested. You can follow that debate on the website of the Save Hangar One committee.
Instead, Airship Ventures has its eyes on Hangar Two, built in 1943 to house U.S. Navy blimps. The company has an option on a Zeppelin NT07, now being built by Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The 75-meter helium-filled airship will be able to carry up to 12 passengers; itâ''s 15 meters longer than the largest blimp flying in US skies today. Tickets for sightseeing trips will cost around $250 to $300 each for a one-hour (or less) tour.