Goodyear’s New Airship: Bigger, Faster, Blimpier
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There’s a new blimp in town.
Meet the yet-to-be-named, state-of-the-art, uber blimp. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. unveiled the new blimp at its Wingfoot Lake hanger in Suffield, Ohio, on Friday.
“The completion of the new blimp marks the beginning of a new era for our airship program and reflects Goodyear’s commitment to remaining at the forefront of aerial broadcast coverage and support,” said Paul Fitzhenry, senior vice president, global communications, in a news release. “This airship will offer enhanced aerial television coverage capabilities, increased flight range to cover more events and an unparalleled passenger experience.”
Flight testing begins later this year, but some of the initial specs on this blimp are impressive. It spans 246 feet long, 50 -feet longer than other blimps currently in Goodyear’s fleet. It’s also has a top speed of 73 mph, 23 mph faster than the current fleet. It arrives with advanced avionics that make this blimp a barnburner compared to other zeppelins.
German engineers from ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik and Goodyear engineers collaborated to create this blimp, much of which was built in Germany but assembled in America.
The body, known as the envelope, is covered with a new high-tech fabric called Tedlar is created by DuPont. The air ship gets it buoyancy from helium.
While many aviation technologies have developed rapidly over time, previous blimps used 1925 techniques to pilot them. However, this blimp uses a computer to monitor the blimp’s position and automatically operates thrusters and engines to maintain it. Pilots will still fly the blimp, controlling the new tail fins with a joystick.
Your Chance to Name It
Goodyear is also allowing the public to pick this blimp’s name.The Name the Blimp contest requires entrants be at least 18 years old and live in the United States. People can submit a name through Goodyear’s website or on Facebook.
The person with the winning name will get to spend a day with their namesake and participate in day of “airship activities”. The nine runners up will all win a set of four Goodyear tires. ■