At the recently concluded Oshkosh 2008 aerial extravaganza, ANN
and Aero-TV yet again, got to play with the Goodyear Blimp. We
admit it... we love the big monster gas bag and we thought an
update and additional look at this amazing and gentle flyer was
worth a second look from Aero-TV.
For 80 years, Goodyear tells ANN that their 'blimps have adorned
the skies as very visible corporate symbols of the tire and rubber
company that began operations in 1898.'
Today, these graceful giants travel more than 100,000 miles
across the United States per year as Goodyear's "Aerial
The blimp tradition began in 1925 when Goodyear built its first
helium-filled public relations airship, the Pilgrim. The tire
company painted its name on the side and began barnstorming the
United States. Humble beginnings to an illustrious history.
Over the years, Goodyear built more than 300 airships, more than
any other company in the world. Akron, Ohio, the company's world
headquarters, was the center of blimp manufacturing for several
During World War II many of the Goodyear-built airships provided
the U.S. Navy with a unique aerial surveillance capability. Often
used as convoy escorts, the blimps were able to look down on the
ocean surface and spot a rising submarine and radio its position to
the convoy's surface ships... in essence acting as an early warning
system. Modern surveillance technology eventually eclipsed the
advantages of the airship fleet, and in 1962 the Navy discontinued
Today, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company no longer
mass-produces airships. In the United States it operates three
well-recognized blimps: the Spirit of Goodyear, based in Akron,
Ohio; the Spirit of America, based in Carson, California; and the
Spirit of Innovation, in Pompano Beach, Florida.