It’s true that Goodyear is retiring the famous blimp, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. They’re simply retiring the three old, cigar-shaped balloons for newer, better models. And they technically won’t be blimps. Instead, they will be replaced with larger, semi-rigid dirigibles, but you’ll still recognize them from the logo and gold and blue color scheme we’ve come to know and love.
The original model, Goodyear’s Spirit of America, has already been deflated and taken apart after it took one last goodbye flight over California. The makers of the new dirigibles seem to be very excited about what’s to come for the design.
Priscilla Tasker, a spokesperson for Goodyear, reports, “It’s a brand new design. It is a much larger airship. It’s a semi-rigid dirigible.” This is going to be the new face for the fabled United States airships, and they’re also going to have a much better design.
Semi-rigid is an air fleet turn to describe a more solid structure holding the cigar-shaped balloon in place. In other words, the balloon won’t deflate once it gets to the ground. Instead, it will stay in tact, making it much easier for the Goodyear blimp operators.
“The most impressive features are the glass cockpit that is all fly-by-wire, the most state-of-the-art avionics in airships today,” Tasker continues, explaining how the new ships will work.
It’s supposed to be a much more economical and useful version of the first famous blimp, and it’s already been tested. The engineers ran a test model last year called Wingfoot One, which replaced the 14-year-old Spirit of Goodyear. The test was successful and now they’ll be ready to replace the other two blimps with the newer models.
The Spirit of Innovation will take one last flight next month in order to replace the already disassembled Spirit of America. Once it lands, it too will be disassembled, retired, and replaced by the Wingfoot models.
This year marks the 90th anniversary of Goodyear blimps that you see at sporting events and major entertainment venues. The purpose of the giant balloons has been more than advertising. It has also been used to film the bird’s eye view of these events, and the newer models will be faster and easier to maneuver, which will make the filming process easier and clearer than before.
The engines are quieter and the overall structure longer, but it won’t change the message and purpose of the iconic blimp we’ve come to know and love over the last 90 years. Goodyear may be retiring their blimps, but the legacy will still live on.
[Image via DaytonDailyNews.com]