Ohio-based Goodyear unveils blimp's replacement

The new airship is bigger, quicker and more maneuverable than earlier models
Associated Press
Mar 16, 2014


The next generation of the well-known Goodyear blimp is getting ready to take flight as the Ohio-based company moves toward replacing its old fleet of airships with a new trio.

The helium-filled airship, assembled at an Akron-area hangar and unveiled there Friday, is bigger, quicker and more maneuverable than earlier models, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. said.

The 246-foot airship fits 12 passengers and has a semi-rigid internal skeleton, a feature that wasn't present in earlier models and raises questions about whether it is truly a blimp, though the company still refers to it as such. The structure is covered by a silver, balloon-like body emblazoned with Goodyear's yellow logo on a blue background.

It can travel at up to 73 mph and has custom computer-controlled avionics, an upgrade from the manual flight system used by the blimp pilots since the 1920s, the company said. It plans to build two more.

A spokesman wouldn't specify the cost of the new airship, which is expected to provide a longer flight range and better aerial broadcast capabilities for event coverage.

"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," Paul Fitzhenry, Goodyear's senior vice president for global communications, said in a statement.

The airship is scheduled to start test flights this month and go into service this summer.

It still needs one component: a name. Goodyear is collecting suggestions through a contest on its website until April 4. Whoever submits the chosen name will get to use the blimp for a day, the company said.

Thousands of suggestions were submitted in 2006 when the company named its Spirit of Innovation blimp, which now operates from Pompano Beach, Fla.

That is where the old Ohio blimp, Spirit of Goodyear, retired. It is being decommissioned this year.





The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I put my entry in just now! If you want to do the same go here: http://www.goodyear.com/en-US/co...

My submission for it is the "Bonnie Anne Sylph". I tried to go with something that was easy to pronounce and invoked the requirements on the site. There's some layered meaning, too. Not sure how deep the judges will look, but hopefully aspects of the various elements will resonate.

Bonnie Anne sounds similar to the French words for "good" and "year". However, "bonnie" also refers to feminine beauty which is also where the name Anne fits in and the reference to aircraft and boats being female. Anne (from Anna) is a name found in many other languages and is a derivative of the Hebrew Hannah which means "He has favored me" or favor/grace in general (in hopes perhaps that my suggestion is favored? Heh). Of course Anna is attested to be Mary's mother and in turn can symbolize being the source from which creation, beauty, and attribution flow.

A sylph is a (usually female) air spirit from mythology. A fae of beauty that drifts through the air as an almost physical manifestation of it. It is something to spur the imagination and serve as an example that fantastic ideas and ideals can be made real.

Maybe that got a bit too deep for the contest, but hey it doesn't hurt to hope and provide the opportunity to be creative!


It still needs one component: a name.

Spirit of Ohio.

Dr. Information

Michelle Obamas butt. Great replacement.