More than 70 years after the dissolution of the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation, the two companies are working together again.
Goodyear’s director of Global Airship Operations, Nancy Jandrokovic, explained: “Our current airships are approaching the end of their lifecycle, and we saw this as an opportunity to take the next evolutionary step in our airship program.”
In a move reminiscent of the Goodyear-Zeppelin glory days of the 1920s and 1930s, the three airships will be assembled by Zeppelin and Goodyear teams working together at Goodyear’s Wingfoot lake airship hangar near Akron, Ohio, under the direction of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik.
Goodyear and Zeppelin began their close relationship in October, 1922, when Goodyear executive William C. Young went to Friedrichshafen, Germany, to propose a joint venture to Hugo Eckener and other leaders of the Zeppelin Company. In September, 1923, the two companies created the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation. Goodyear president Paul W. Litchfield was a leading supporter of the rigid airship and the two firms worked closely throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Zeppelin captain Ernst Lehmann and engineer Karl Arnstein, along with other Zeppelin personnel, moved to Akron, Ohio to help Goodyear-Zeppelin build airships using Zeppelin Company patents. The culmination of the joint venture was the construction of the airships Akron and Macon for the United States Navy in the early 1930s. Relations between the companies became strained after the outbreak of World War II in 1939 and the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation was dissolved in December, 1940.
Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik was founded in 1993 and is a successor to the famous Luftschiffbau Zeppelin (the Zeppelin Company) which built German zeppelins from 1909 through 1939, including the LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin and the LZ-129 Hindenburg.
Hat Tip to Zeppelin pilot Hans-Paul Ströhle for letting us know about this development.
Zeppelin Press Release [PDF download]
Goodyear Zeppelin Comparison Fact Sheet [PDF download]
Goodyear to clear air of blimps [article from Ohio.com]