The Goodyear blimp
may have been flying around for almost 90 years, but it still manages to turn heads. On Friday, there was another reason to look beyond nostalgia for the days of the great airships of old as Goodyear unveiled its new state-of-the-art blimp to the media, Goodyear associates and dealers at its Wingfoot Lake hangar in Suffield, Ohio. Built in partnership with the Zeppelin company, the new craft that replaces the 45-year old GZ-20 blimp fleet is not only larger and faster, it isn’t even a blimp, but a semi-rigid airship.
Last July, we first heard about Goodyear’s plans to replace its current fleet of blimps with newer, more advanced models
. The first of those airships, which was unnamed at the time, made its maiden flight
this March. Now called Wingfoot One, it officially began active service last Friday.
The iconic Goodyear blimps are a common sight in the skies over stadiums at sporting events in the US, serving as an aerial billboard and television camera platform to provide aerial views. In 2011, Goodyear announced plans to replace the current fleet of GZ-20 class blimps first introduced in 1969 with three new Zeppelin NT airships. Goodyear says this new design will be longer, faster, and more maneuverable than the current fleet, while also being less expensive to operate.
In the days before full-service gas stations went the way of the dodo, in addition to filling ‘er up, the attendant would sometimes check the tire pressure. These days that task, along with actually pumping the fuel, has totally fallen back on the driver, but it’s a job that is easily overlooked. This leaves many people driving around on tires at less than optimal pressure resulting in reduced performance and fuel economy. For the past year, Goodyear has been developing its self-inflating tire technology
that's designed to keep tires inflated at the optimum pressure and the company is now set to debut the technology in Germany.