The next generation of the well-known Goodyear blimp is getting ready to take flight as the 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, is bigger, quicker and more maneuverable than earlier models.
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.
Every Goodyear blimp needs a name and, once again, the company is inviting the public to participate in a Goodyear “Name the Blimp” contest. Entrants over 18 years of age in the United States and Washington, DC can submit a name for the new blimp.
One name will be chosen from the entries and the contest winner (along with 5 guests) will have exclusive use of the Goodyear Blimp for a day (up to 6 hours). Nine lucky First Prize winners will receive a set of 4 Goodyear passenger or light truck tires.
If you win, the Grand Prize Blimp Ride will depart from a blimp-accessible location nearest the winner’s residence. If you live in SoCal, that would be at Goodyear’s Airship Base in the City of Carson.
Submissions for the contest will close on Friday, April 4. The winner will be announced on or around 45 days after May 9.
Click below to enter … don’t forget me if you win! -mike