I had a lifetime "first" this weekend. I was at the 3M Open in Blain and as my husband and I sat in the grass on the 18th hole, we heard a humming overhead. There had been planes flying around all day so we didn't think anything of it until the humming didn't stop. We looked up, and to our amazement, the sound was coming from the Goodyear Blimp! 

I was really excited, I had never seen it before in my life, so I laid back in the grass and watched it hover in the wind. It is truly amazing, the size of this machine, and the fact that it can just exist in mid-air.

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Once I got home I opened my computer and immediately started to do some research on the Goodyear Blimp, and I thought it was interesting enough to share with you as well!

Assembly of Wingfoot One began in March 2013 at Goodyear's Wingfoot Lake hangar. An international team of engineers and technicians from Goodyear and Germany's ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik worked side by side to complete the build project. Parts such as the tail fins and gondola were built in Germany and shipped to the U.S. for assembly. The balloon-like body of the airship – the “envelope” – is made of polyester with an innovative film from DuPont™ called Tedlar®, surrounding a semi-rigid internal structure, which differentiates this airship from previous Goodyear blimps.

Here are some fast facts the Goodyear Blimp website shared:

  • The width of the blimp is the length of 2.5 London double-decker busses
  • The total length of the blimp is 82% of a football field
  • The outside is Polyurethane, Polyester and Tedlar film, which is kinda like a weather-resistant, super-strong spandex
  • It can fly at 73 mph
  • The engines can fly anywhere from 24-40 hours
  • Without its lifting gas, an empty Blimp weighs almost 20,000 lbs. Once inflated with helium and after accounting for fuel, payload and ballast, it usually weighs in at 100-200 lbs.

There are currently 4 blimps in the Goodyear Blimp fleet, and they are flown out of three bases. One in Ohio, one in Florida, and one in California. The Ohio blimp hangar was built in 1917, and is the oldest airship facility and one of the oldest active aircraft bases in the world.

It was so cool to see this bimp in person, and I'll have a whole new respect for it the next time I spot it on TV.

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