Blimp-like craft with Romney ad makes emergency landing in Davie

If you ever wanted the perfect opportunity to crack a joke about politics and hot air, now is your chance.

A blimp-like airship carrying an ad for Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign made an emergency landing Sunday night in Broward County — one of the most staunchly Democratic parts of Florida.

It landed near a park in Davie, in a large chunk of land set aside for a housing development that “never came to fruition,” police spokesman Capt. Dale Engle said.

No one was hurt.

The airship began its journey in Boca Raton, Engle said, moving south toward North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines.

As it traveled, adorned with a picture of the candidate’s smiling face and the slogan “America Needs Romney,” social media posts announcing its sightings followed, often including snarky comments that fit right in with the deep blue county’s voting history.

And then came the emergency landing. About 7:15 p.m., the airship was over Davie, trying to head southeast toward the Pembroke Pines airport.

But even though the airship was pointed east and at full throttle, the winds pushed it west.

“He [the pilot] just knew he wasn’t going to make it,” Engle said.

Engle said that the pilot saw a large, open area in a housing development just south of the Robert H. Bamford Sports Complex, between Pine Island Road and Southwest 92nd Avenue, north of Griffin Road, Engle said.

He made a safe landing, Engle said, setting the airship down about 150 yards from the only two homes in the development. Hours later, the 160-foot airship was deflated, flat and sprawled along the grass.

What caused the emergency landing will be investigated by federal authorities, Engle said. Neither of the two people on board were hurt.

And, though from far away many were certain they saw a blimp, Engle said that wasn’t the case. It’s actually a thermal airship, which looks like a blimp from far away with its round, balloon-like top.

But up close, the lower part of the airship looks very different from a traditional blimp, Engle said.