The New Goodyear Blimp Takes Flight!

Growing up in the Akron-Canton area in northeast Ohio, the Goodyear Blimp was a common sight. But for me the blimp holds a VERY special place in my heart, not only because I used to see it floating around the sky from time to time. But because my grandfather, Don Block, spent his ENTIRE working career as an Airship Engineer for Goodyear Aircraft.

As a former WWII B-26 Pilot (read more about that here) , his love for aviation easily translated to the work force. His Goodyear endeavor began in 1947 with his hand in the design of the blimps that have been in use over the last four decades for Goodyear!

Earlier today his son, Jim (my uncle) and him were invited by Goodyear to witness first hand the inaugural test flight of the brand new airship! Since his retirement, his friends at Goodyear have kept in close contact with him in a consulting role which he still continues to this day (he will be 90 years old this summer)!  The new blimp is about 50 feet longer than the older version at 246 feet  and has a top speed of about 73 mph about 20 mph faster than before.

The new design keeps it's traditional color, looking very nice in the skies over Akron! (Photo by Jim Block)

The new design keeps it’s traditional color, looking very nice in the skies over Akron! (Photo by Jim Block)

Although the new blimp may look very similar to older versions, it is very different in its design. The older blimps had no internal structure to them inside the envelope, just helium. This one has internal structure, it is considered a “semi-rigid” aircraft. For a comparison you can check out all the specs here

The Goodyear Blimp flying over its hangar (Photo, Jim Block)

The Goodyear Blimp flying over its hangar for its FIRST test flight on 3/17/14 (Photo, Jim Block)

The hangar sitting empty while the blimp takes to the sky for the first time! (Photo, Jim Block)

The hangar sitting empty while the blimp takes to the sky for the first time! (Photo, Jim Block)

Unlike its predecessors, the new blimp design has much more control over its landing. Before when the blimp used to land it would take a crew of people on the ground to guide it to land. The new version has much more control and can land without a crew on the ground.

Photo, Jim Block

After landing, the blimp is being towed back into the hangar. Photo, Jim Block

The blimp back in its hangar! Photo, Jim Block

The blimp back in its hangar! Photo, Jim Block

The new blimp has yet to get its name, Goodyear is hosting a contest to name the new airship in which someone will win the ultimate blimp experience. For more information click here

We don’t get to see the blimp very often here in West Central Ohio, but whenever it flies over head and we get pictures of it from viewers it always brings a big smile to my face!

-Kyle

 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “The New Goodyear Blimp Takes Flight!

  1. This is great stuff. When I was about 10 years old, I spotted the Goodyear blimp – I believe it was named Columbia – coming in low over Cincinnati. We had more than one visit by the blimp during sporting events, but this time she was really low, and I figured out she was coming in to land at Lunken Airport. Mom was cool and drove to the airport. You can’t do this today, folks, but in the 1970’s you could drive right up to the airfield. We watched the blimp land, take care of some business, and take off. The way the blimp had to land looked like they were about to crash; they had to power it down nose down to just a few feet off the ground. A mooring line ran from the nose, and the ground crew had to grab on and haul it the rest of the way down.Take off looked like a rocket aiming for the moon. I’ve been fascinated by blimps ever since.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s