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Zeppelin heads for Torrey Pines with contest, tickets on tap

A 246-foot-long Zeppelin, touted as the world’s largest airship, will take to the skies for the first time over San Diego during the start of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament, it was announced Tuesday.

Though the main competition will be on the golf course, a second competition will be brewing on the ground. As the Farmers Airship sails down the California Coast, airship aficionados are encouraged to “spot the Zeppelin” and send in photos of the airship on its journey for the chance to win a flight.

Photographers of the top-10 Zeppelin images captured on the journey will win a pair of tickets to fly aboard the Farmers Airship. Would-be photographers will know when to get their cameras ready by tracking the Zeppelin’s journey at the Airship Ventures Web site, sightings@airshipventures.com, with the top images and winners being announced the week of Feb. 8 on the Zeppelin Sightings Blog, www.zeppelintransit.blogspot.com.

In addition to covering the golf tournament, the Farmers Airship will offer sunset flights above San Diego to the public Jan. 28-31, weather permitting. San Diego-area flights depart from Brown Field Municipal Airport. Tour lengths vary, private charters and custom routes are available. For more information about the airship, or to view a detailed flight schedule and purchase tickets, visit

www.airshipventures.com

, or call (650) 969-8100 x111.

The so-called “Farmers Insurance Airship” will be operated by Airship Ventures.

“Torrey Pines will host some of the world’s best golfers this weekend and the Farmers Airship will ensure the worldwide television audience will see this beautiful course and the intense competition on it from the tees to the greens,” said Kevin Kelso, chief marketing officer for Farmers Insurance Group.

The airship is 15 feet longer than a Boeing 747 and is 50 feet longer that the largest blimp, according to Kelso.

It will be emblazoned with a blue and red Farmers Insurance shield logo that is 185 feet long and 30 feet tall.

The opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open, which was formerly called the Buick Invitational, is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. Play will conclude on Sunday.