Horizon Blimp to take off on holiday weekend

The Horizon Blimp will be soaring over New Jersey during the Labor Day weekend, piloted by a Garden State native.

Tim Lichardus says being the blimp?s crew chief is a little bit like being a celebrity.

"People are constantly coming up and saying how they saw it, saw it at the beach,? he says.

Originally from Clark, Lichardus applied for his job after reading an ad in the paper. He has spent the past five years supervising the blimp crew, navigating take-offs and landings.

The 3,000-pound, $6 million aircraft is powered with aviation fuel and controlled with foot pedals and wheels.

"They're elevator controls,? says pilot Bret Viets. ?Roll them back and the nose goes up, roll them forward and the nose goes down."

Still, Viets considers his job a blessing.

"Just being able to see the world from 1,000 feet, 30 miles per hour, it just doesn't get much better than that,? he says.

According to Lichardus, there are only about 20 blimps in the entire world.

For a full interview with blimp pilot Tim Lichardus, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra, Channel 612.

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