Wingfoot One is the name of Goodyear’s newest blimp and on August 23rd Robin Roberts, co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America, will christen the massive airship.
On Thursday, Goodyear tweeted confirmation of Roberts’ acceptance of an offer made by the Akron, Ohio-based company.
Robin Roberts accepted our invitation to christen the newest blimp, Wingfoot One! Details: http://t.co/bP1LBTEx7z
— Goodyear (@GoodyearBlimp) July 24, 2014
Robin Roberts is quoted by WebProNews as saying “This is incredibly meaningful to my family. My great grandfather moved his family from down south to Akron in 1918 to work for Goodyear. Never could he have imagined that one day one of his descendants would be asked to christen the blimp. I’m very honored.”
But Roberts connection to Goodyear and Akron doesn’t end with her great grandfather. William Tolliver, Roberts Grandfather, worked at Goodyear, and Roberts own late mother, Lucimarian Roberts, was born in Akron and graduated from East High School, just down the street from the Goodyear headquarters.
Goodyear’s Chairman and CEO, Richard J. Kramer, said “We are honored and delighted to have Robin continue our proud tradition of christening the Goodyear blimp. In addition to being a supremely talented broadcaster, Robin has a family legacy with Goodyear and Akron. The combination of her personal connection to our city and company, her distinguished professional achievements and charitable works makes Robin an ideal choice to christen our newest icon.”
Robin Roberts joins a list of aviation royaltythat have been invited to christen Goodyear blimps throughout the years, including astronaut Dr. Sally Ride in 2000 and aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart in 1929. Roberts, too, has a connection to aviation. Her late father, Lawrence E. Roberts, served in the United States military for more than 30 years. Col. Roberts was a pilot with the U.S. Army Air Corps’ prestigious Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. He later became a flight instructor at the Tuskegee Institute.
The Akron Beacon Journal indicates the August 23 event will begin at 8am at the blimp hangar base in Suffield Township and that a limited number of free tickets will be made available to the public. The last christening of a Goodyear blimp occurred in 2006 and drew around 1,500 people.
Roberts won a Peabody Award in 2012 for her work on Good Morning America raising awareness of the national bone marrow registry and encouraging donations following a myelodyplastic syndrome diagnosis. She also made headlines last year when she announced via Facebook that she is gay.
Following the christening, Wingfoot One will begin providing regular aerial television coverage of prominent sporting events, including the beginning of the college football season. Goodyear’s aerial coverage of marquee events in 2014 includes the NBA Finals, BCS Championship, Kentucky Derby, 2014 FIFA World Cup and Daytona 500.
Since 1917, Goodyear has built more than 300 lighter-than-air vehicles for public relations and defense applications, many built at the Suffield facility.
[image: US Magazine]