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FAMILY CHANNEL BLIMP CREW SALUTES "BIGFOOT" PILOTS

 VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Following the forced landing of the US-LTA "Bigfoot" airship in New York City on Sunday, the crew of The Family Channel blimp, also currently in New York, saluted today pilots Leander Cermak and Pat Russell for their skills in landing the airship without major injury to themselves or those on the ground.
 According to Family Channel pilot Steve Tomlin, "That sort of landing is the kind all of us in the airship business hope to never have happen. But the experience shown by these pilots really made the difference."
 As with all aircraft, airships are required by the FAA to undergo ongoing equipment checks to maintain safety standards. Unannounced "ramp checks" -- where the airship is stopped for a routine inspection by FAA officials -- are not uncommon in the industry. Since beginning operations in September, 1992, The Family Channel blimp has maintained a consistently high level of both mechanical and operational safety. "We strive for safety first in all our operations," stated Tomlin. "We want our passengers, and those on the ground to enjoy the airship without incident -- it's what all of us in the business work our hardest to achieve."
 The Family Channel blimp will be seen over New York City from July 6-11 as part of it's 1993 "Accentuate The Positive" tour -- a cross- country journey incorporating fly-bys at major fairs, festivals and sporting events. The airship also makes dreams come true for special children from Make-A-Wish Foundation, Special Olympics and area children's hospitals with thrilling rides. The 132-foot-long airship, which illuminates at night, operates with a crew of 11 along with two pilots.
 -0- 7/6/93
 /CONTACT: Beth Swanson of The Family Channel, pager 1-800-759-7243, pin 114261/


CO: The Family Channel ST: Virginia IN: ARO SU:

TM -- NY069 -- 8850 07/06/93 19:08 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 6, 1993
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