The Goodyear Blimp, Today and Yesterday

Who doesn’t love the Goodyear Blimp?

The Goodyear Blimp may be the best known and most loved airship in history. As I said in an interview with CNN, “You can imagine football without the Goodyear Blimp, but it would be kind of sad. It has become part of our national consciousness.”

Goodyear Blimp

(photo courtesy Brian Bartlett/Airliners.net)

Goodyear has been using blimps for advertising since 1925, when it launched the first Goodyear Blimp, Pilgrimand over the past 90 years dozens of blimps of various types have served as “Goodyear Blimps.”

This is a comprehensive guide to Goodyear’s advertising blimps from 1925 to the present.

Goodyear Blimps Today

Goodyear currently operates three airships: Two model GZ-20A blimps — Spirit of America and Spirit of Innovation — and a semi-rigid Zeppelin NT named Wingfoot One.

Goodyear GZ-20A and Zeppelin NT

Goodyear GZ-20A Spirit of America (left) and Zeppelin NT Wingfoot One (right). (photos: Goodyear)

The GZ-20 series was introduced in 1969 and has served as “the Goodyear Blimp” for almost five decades.

Spirit of America (N10A) began service in 2002 and is based in Carson, California (between downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach). Spirit of America was christened on September 5, 2002, by Mrs. Letitia Driscoll, the mother of New York police officer Stephen Driscoll who was killed in South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The ship was previously named Columbia (N10A) and Eagle (N2A).

Spirit of Innovation (N2A) entered service in June, 2006, and is based in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Goodyear Blimp Spirit of Innovation

Spirit of Innovation (photo: Goodyear)

The New Goodyear Airship: It’s Not a Blimp At All

In 2011 Goodyear announced that it would replace its fleet of blimps with semi-rigid Zeppelin NT airships. For the first time in its long history, the “Goodyear Blimp” won’t technically be a blimp at all.

Introduced in 2014, the Zeppelin NT is larger, faster, and more maneuverable than the venerable GZ-20A it will replace.

The first new Goodyear airship — named Wingfoot One in a public contest — was assembled at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake Airship Base and made its first flight on March 17, 2014.

The new Goodyear airship leaving the hangar for its first flight on March 17, 2014. (photo: Goodyear)

The new Goodyear airship leaving the hangar for its first flight on March 17, 2014. (photo: Goodyear)

Unlike a blimp, which has no internal structure and maintains its shape from the pressure of the gas inside its envelope, the Zeppelin NT is built around a framework of high-strength, lightweight carbon-fiber and aluminum, and all the ship’s major components — cabin, engines, and tail assembly — are mounted on the rigid structure.

Zeppelin NT Structure

Zeppelin NT Structure (image: ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH)

The new Goodyear zeppelin is considerably larger than the blimps it will replace in both length and volume.

At 246′ in length, Goodyear’s new Zeppelin is considerably larger than the 192′ blimps it will replace. (image: Goodyear)

The new zeppelin is also significantly faster than the blimps; the new Goodyear airship has a maximum operating speed of 73 mph, compared with the 50 mph for the blimps, allowing the zeppelin to participate in more events.

New Zeppelin NT Current GZ-20A Blimp
Length 246.4′ 192′
Maximum Width 64.79 50′
Envelope Volume 297,527 cubic feet 202,700 cubic feet
Maximum Speed 73 miles per hour 50 miles per hour

 

Wingfoot One over Goodyear's Wingfoot Lake Airship Base where it was assembled. (photo: Goodyear)

Wingfoot One over Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake Airship Base where it was assembled. (photo: Goodyear)

Zeppelin NT Dimensions and Performance

  • Crew: 1-2 pilots (certified for single pilot operation)
  • Passengers: 15
  • Envelope volume:  297,527 cubic feet
  • Length: 246.4′
  • Maximum Width: 64.79′
  • Maximum Envelope Width: 46.45′
  • Overall Height: 57.57′
  • Maximum weight: 19,780 lb
  • Engines:  3 Textron-Lycoming IO-360-C1G6 (197 hp) 4-cylinder gasoline piston engines
  • Propellers:  3 vectored thrust Hoffmann 2.7 m three-bladed; 1 lateral thrust Hoffmann 2.2 m three-bladed
  • Fuel capacity: 306 gal. (5 tanks), right 49 gal. (48 gal. usable), left 44 gal. (43 gal. usable), reserve 49 gal. (48 gal. usable), 2 external auxiliary 82 gal. each (80 gal. usable).
  • Maximum speed: 78 mph
  • Endurance: 24 hours
  • Static Lift: 2,940 pounds
  • Maximum Dynamic Lift: 1,102 pounds (500 kg)
  • Maximum static heaviness, take-off/landing: 400 kg
  • Maximum static heaviness, inflight: 500 kg
  • Maximum static lightness : -200 kg
  • Payload: 5,181 lbs (2,350 kg)
  • Max. flight altitude: 10,000′ (3,048 m)

       Source: EASA and FAA Type Certificate Data Sheets for LZ N07-101; Goodyear

Goodyear-Zeppelin Airdock

Goodyear-Zeppelin Airdock (Airships.net collection)

The Goodyear and Zeppelin companies have a long history of working together. In September, 1923, the two companies formed the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation as a joint-venture and the two firms worked closely throughout the 1920s and 1930s, building the airships Akron and Macon for the United States Navy in the early 1930s.

A Guide to Goodyear’s Advertising Blimps: 1925 to the Present

Goodyear Blimp Pilgrim - cigarette card

The First “Goodyear Blimp”

The first Goodyear blimp used for advertising was Pilgrim, which was also the first blimp to fly with safe helium rather than flammable hydrogen.

Pilgrim (I)
First flight (hydrogen): June 3, 1925
First flight (helium): July 17, 1925
Volume:  47,700 cu. ft. (Envelope D-94)
Length:  105.5 ft.
Maximum diameter:  31 ft.
Engines: 1 Lawrence air-cooled radial (60 hp)
Max speed: 50 mph
Cruising Speed: 40 mph

Pilgrim (I) was christened by Florence Litchfield, wife of Goodyear executive and lighter-than-air advocate Paul Litchfield.

First flight of Pilgrim, 1925

First flight of Pilgrim, 1925

Pilgrim was deflated in June, 1928 and its car (C-35) was fitted with a new, larger envelope:

Pilgrim (II) (NC-9-A)
Launched: April 19, 1929,
Volume: 55,000 cu. ft. (Envelope D-122)
Length:  110 ft.
Maximum diameter:  32 ft.
Engines: 1 Lawrence air-cooled radial (60 hp)
Max speed: 50 mph
Cruising Speed: 40 mph

Originally inflated with hydrogen when it first flew at Akron, Ohio, on June 3, 1925, Pilgrim was re-inflated with helium the next month; every Goodyear blimp since then has used helium.

Pilgrim was also the first blimp to have its control car entirely supported by an internal catenary curtain and cables, and flush with the envelope. Previous blimp cars were suspended beneath the envelope to keep the engine away from the flammable hydrogen, attached by cables secured to finger patches or looped around the envelope. The category system employed by Pilgrim became the standard for all future blimps.

Goodyear Patent 1800174, showing catenary curtain for blimp.

Goodyear Patent 1800174, showing catenary curtain.

Pilgrim was retired on December 30, 1931, having carried 5,355 passengers on 4,765 flights, flying 2,880 flight hours and 94,974 miles.

Blimps of the 1930s: “Yachts in the Sky”

Pilgrim’s success led Goodyear to build additional blimps to advertise the company.

Goodyear president Paul Litchfield named the blimps after defenders of the America’s Cup yacht race, because he thought blimps could “serve a similar purpose for persons living inland as do yachts for those living along the seacoast.”

Volunteer (photo: California Historical Society)

Volunteer (photo: California Historical Society)

Type TZ

Puritan (I) (NC-7A)
First flight: July 2, 1928
Volume: 86,000 cu. ft.
Length: 128 ft.
Diameter: 36 ft.
Engines: 2 Siemens-Halska (82 hp)
Based at Miami, Florida

Volunteer (I) (NC-8A)
First flight: April 27, 1929
Volume: 86,000 cu. ft.
Length: 128 ft.
Diameter: 36 ft.
Engines: 2 Siemens-Halska (82 hp)
Introduced at the National Balloon Races in Pittsburgh, 1929
Based at Los Angeles, California

Goodyear Blimp Mayflower

Mayflower, 1929 (photo: Boston Public LIbrary, Leslie Jones Collection)

Mayflower (I) (NC-10A)
First flight: May 17, 1929
Volume: 86,000 cu. ft.
Length: 128 ft.
Diameter: 36 ft.
Engines: 2 Siemens-Halska (82 hp)
Based at New Bedford, Massachusetts and St. Petersburg, Florida
Deflated February, 1931 for installation of larger envelope

Mayflower was christened with a flask of liquefied air on May 21, 1929 by Bertl Arnstein, wife of Dr. Karl Arnstein, the famed airship engineer who was later noted for designing the Goodyear-Zeppelin airships U.S.S. Akron and U.S.S. Macon for the United States Navy.

Mrs. Karl Arnstein christening Mayflower with a flask of liquefied air, May 21, 1929

Mrs. Karl Arnstein christening Mayflower with a flask of liquefied air; May 21, 1929 (photo: Goodyear)

Vigilant (NC-11A)
First flight: June 27, 1929
Volume: 86,000 cu. ft.
Length: 128 ft.
Diameter: 36 ft.
Engines: 2 Siemens-Halska (82 hp)
Wrecked at Piedmont, Alabama, November 20, 1930.

Vigilant was christened on June 25, 1929 by Miss Edith Litchfield, daughter of Paul Litchfield.

Goodyear Blimp Vigilant

Vigilant (photo: Goodyear)

In late 1929, Goodyear decided to equip Puritan and Volunteer with larger, 96,000 cu. ft. envelopes:

Puritan (II)(III) (NC-7A)
Volume: 96,000 cu. ft.
Length: 133 ft.
Diameter: 39 ft.
Engines: 2 Warner Scarab (110 hp)
(The version numbers represent different envelopes of the same size)

Volunteer (II) (NC-8A)
Volume: 96,000 cu. ft.
Length: 133 ft.
Diameter: 39 ft.
Engines: 2 Warner Scarab (110 hp)
Based at Los Angeles, California

Goodyear Airship Operations, 1930. From The Story of the Airship, Hugh Allen, 1931. (Airship.net collection)

Goodyear Airship Operations, 1930. From The Story of the Airship, Hugh Allen, 1931. (Airships.net collection)

During this era Goodyear built the only blimp it ever made for another private firm. Neponset was built for the New England Airship Corporation of New Bedford, Massachusetts and carried advertising for that firm’s clients, including Bird & Son and the Enna Jettick Shoe Company.

Neponset (NC-13A)
Launched: April, 1930
Volume: 86,000 cu. ft.
Length: 128 ft.
Diameter: 36 ft.
Engines: 2 Siemens-Halska (82 hp)

Neponset-horizontal

Neponset

In 1931, Goodyear began equipping its blimps with a larger 112,000 cu. ft. envelope:

Type TZ – 112,000 cubic feet

Volume: 112,000 cu. ft.
Length: 141 ft.
Diameter: 39 ft.
Engines: 2 Warner Scarab (125 hp)
Max speed: 60 mph

Columbia (I) (NC-11A)
First flight: June 14, 1931
Deflated: February 13, 1932
Based at Holmes Airport, New York City
(Columbia used the car and fins from Vigilant, which had been wrecked at Piedmont, Alabama on November 20, 1930.)

Mayflower (II) (NC-10A)
First flight: May 17, 1929
Mayflower was destroyed in a storm on July 12, 1931 when it crashed into power lines at the Kansas City Municipal airport and burned.

Reliance (I)(II) (NC-14A)
First flight: November 5, 1931
Deflated: April, 1933
(The version numbers represent different envelopes of the same size)

Reliance at 1933 Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago

Reliance at 1933 Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago

Resolute (I)(II) (NC-15A)
First flight: April 28, 1932
Based at Los Angeles, California
(The version numbers represent different envelopes of the same size)

Goodyear Blimp Resolute

Resolute at Holmes Airport, New York (Alan Gross Collection)

Puritan (IV) (NC-7A)
First flight: September 5, 1931

Volunteer (III)(IV)(V) (NC-8A)
First flight: September 5, 1931
Based at Los Angeles, California
(The version numbers represent different envelopes of the same size)

Goodyear Airship Operations, 1929-1932. From The Story of the Airship, Hugh Allen, 1931. (Airship.net collection)

Goodyear Airship Operations, 1929-1932. From The Story of the Airship, Hugh Allen, 1931. (Airships.net collection)

Type PA – “Flagship of the Fleet” 

Defender (NC-12A)
Type: PA
First flight: August 20, 1929
Volume: 179,000 cu. ft. (later 183,000)
Length: 184′
Diameter: 44′
Engines: 2 J-6 Wright Whirlwind (165 hp) / 2 Packard diesel (225 hp) from November 6, 1931 – June 5, 1932
Max speed: 63 mph
Based at Akron, Ohio

Defender was christened by Amelia Earhart on August 30, 1929 at the National Air Races in Cleveland.

Defender was sold to the U.S. Navy and flown to Lakehurst October 5, 1935. As U.S. Navy blimp G-1, the ship collided with Navy blimp L-2 (formerly Goodyear’s Ranger) on June 8, 1942 during night operations near Manasquan Inlet, New Jersey. Both blimps were destroyed.

Amelia Earhart christening Goodyear Blimp Defender

Amelia Earhart christening Defender (photo: Goodyear)

Blimps of the Pre-War Era

In the mid-1930s Goodyear upgraded Puritan, Reliance, and Resolute with 123,000 cu. ft. envelopes that would become the prototype for the U.S. Navy’s L-Class, and built new blimps (Enterprise, Rainbow, and Ranger) of that size as well.

Type L

Volume: 123,000 cu. ft.
Length: 148 ft.
Diameter: 46 ft.
Engines: 2 Warner (145 hp)
Max speed: 63 mph
Cruising speed: 45 mph

Puritan (V) (NC-7A)
First flight: October 25, 1935
Puritan (V) was wrecked in a hurricane, September 21, 1938, at Springfield, Massachusetts.

Reliance (III)(IV)(V) (NC-14A)
First flight: June, 1937
Became U.S. Navy L-6
(The version numbers represent different envelopes of the same size)

Enterprise (I)(II) (NC-16A)
First flight: August 23, 1934
Transferred to US Navy in 1942, became U.S. Navy L-5
(The version numbers represent different envelopes of the same size)

The car used on Enterprise is now in Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Car C-49 had a long history; it served Goodyear in peace and the U.S. Navy in war, and it was rebuilt in 1969 and put into service as GZ-20A Columbia (N4A) in 1975.

Goodyear Blimp Enterprise

Enterprise (photo: Library of Congress)

Resolute (III) (NC-15A)
First flight: October, 1938
Transferred to US Navy  in 1942, became U.S. Navy L-4

Rainbow (NC-9A)
First flight: March 31, 1939
Transferred to US Navy in 1942, became U.S. Navy L-7

Goodyear Blimp Rainbow

Rainbow (photo: Goodyear)

Ranger (I) (NC-10A)
First flight: August 13, 1940
Transferred to US Navy February 1, 1941, became U.S. Navy L-2

As U.S. Navy blimp L-2, the ship collided with Navy blimp G-1 (formerly Defender) on June 8, 1942 during night operations near Manasquan Inlet, New Jersey. Both blimps were destroyed.

World War II

Goodyear did not operate advertising blimps during World War II.  At beginning of the war the the U.S. Navy took over Goodyear’s five advertising blimps (Resolute, Enterprise, Reliance, Rainbow, and Ranger) and operated them as Navy blimps L-4 through L-8.

Goodyear Blimp Resolute as U.S. Navy L-4

Resolute as U.S. Navy L-4 (photo: Goodyear)

Postwar Blimps of the 1940 and 1950s

Goodyear’s postwar fleet was dominated by former U.S. Navy L-type blimps.

Type L

Volume: 123,000 cu. ft.
Length: 148 ft.
Maximum diameter: 46 ft.
Engines: 2 Warner (145 hp)
Max speed: 62-63 mph

Ranger (II) (III) (NC-1A, N1A)
Ex-Navy L-18
First flight: May 28, 1946
Wrecked at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, January 26, 1958
(The version numbers represent different envelopes of the same size)

Ranger was temporarily renamed Century in 1951-1952 when operated by Goodyear under contract to advertise Stag beer.

Goodyear Blimp Ranger at Akron Municipal Airport

Ranger at Akron Municipal Airport, 1950s. (photo: Goodyear)

Volunteer (VI)(VII) (NC-2A)
First flight: September 26, 1946
Retired: 1949
Ex-Navy L-17 car

Enterprise (I)(II) (NC-3A, N3A)
First flight: October 9, 1946
Retired: 1959
Ex-Navy L-16 car.
(The version numbers represent different envelopes of the same size)

Enterprise was temporarily renamed Century in 1952 when operated by Goodyear under contract to advertise Stag beer.

Mayflower (III) (NC-4A,N4A)

First Goodyear flight: May 12, 1947
Retired: 1948
Ex-Navy L-14 car

ZPK Type

Goodyear operated one former U.S. Navy K-ship as an advertising blimp:

Puritan (VI) (NC-21A, NC-10A)
Ex-Navy K-28
Launched: 1946
First Goodyear flight: March 3, 1947
Volume: 425,000 cu. ft.
Length: 251 ft.
Maximum diameter: 57.85 ft.
Width: 63.5′
Height: 79′
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Wasp R-1340-AN2
Cruise speed: 56 mph
Maximum speed: 67.5 mph
Retired: April, 1948

The car of this blimp is on display at the New England Air Museum at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

Goodyear Blimp Puritan, 1947

Former U.S. Navy K-ship as Puritan, 1947 (photo: Goodyear)

The Modern Era

Goodyear entered the modern era with the GZ-19/GZ-19A in 1959, and the Goodyear Blimp we have known for the past several decades — the iconic GZ-20/GZ-20A — was first introduced in 1969.

Type GZ-19 and GZ-19A

Mayflower (V) (N4A)
Type: GZ-19
First Flight: February 25, 1959
Volume: 132,500 cu. ft.
Length: 150 ft.
Maximum diameter: 41 ft.
Engines: 2 Continental (175 hp)
Maximum speed: 61 mph
Based at Miami, Florida

In 1963, Mayflower’s car was rebuilt as a type GZ-19A and the ship was given a larger 147,300 cu. ft. envelope:

Mayflower (VI) (N4A)
Type: GZ-19A
First Flight: September 30, 1963
Volume: 147,300 cu. ft.
Length: 157 ft.
Maximum diameter: 41 ft.
Engines: 2 Continental (175 hp)
Maximum speed: 57 mph
Retired: October, 1969
Based at Miami, Florida

Goodyear Blimp Mayflower

Mayflower (photo: Goodyear)

Mayflower (VII) (N1A)
Type: GZ-19A
First Flight: September 4, 1968
Volume: 147,300 cu. ft.
Length: 157 ft.
Maximum diameter: 41 ft.
Engines: 2 Continental (175 hp)
Maximum speed: 57 mph
Retired: July, 1976
Based at Miami, Florida

Goodyear Blimp Mayflower

Mayflower (photo: State Archives of Florida)

Columbia (II)(III)(IV) (N2A)
Type: GZ-19A
Launched: July 23, 1963
Volume: 147,300 cu. ft.
Length: 160 ft.
Maximum diameter: 41 ft.
Engines: 2 Continental (175 hp)
Maximum speed: 57 mph
Retired: 1969
Based at Los Angeles, California

The first GZ-20 blimp, America, was introduced in 1969.

Type GZ-20 and GZ-20A

  • Volume: 202,700 cu. ft.
  • Length: 192 ft.
  • Maximum Width: 50 ft.
  • Maximum Envelope Width: 45.92 ft.
  • Overall Height 59.54 ft.
  • Maximum weight: 12,840 lb
  • Engines: 2 Continental IO-360-D gasoline piston engines (210 hp)
  • Propellers:  2 Hartzell constant speed, non-feathering, reversing propellers
  • Maximum speed: 50 mph (80 km/h)
  • Endurance: 24 hours
  • Static Lift: 2,530 pounds
  • Maximum Dynamic Lift: 800 pounds
  • Total Usable Lift: 3,330 pounds
  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Passengers: 6

         Source: FAA Type Certificate Data Sheet for GZ20A; Goodyear

America (N10A)
Type: GZ-20
First flight: April 25, 1969
Based near Houston, Texas
Retired: July, 1982

Goodyear Blimp America

America, the first GZ-20 (photo: Goodyear)

Columbia (V) (N3A)
Type: GZ-20
First flight: August 8, 1969
Retired: July, 1975
Based at Los Angeles, California

Goodyear Blimp Columbia N3A

Columbia (photo: San Diego Air and Space-Museum Archive)

Europa (N2A)
Type: GZ-20A
First flight: March 8, 1972 (Cardington, England)
Retired: 1987
Based at Rome, Italy

Columbia (VI)(VII) (N4A)
Type: GZ-20A
First flight: July 12, 1975

The car used on Columbia was first used on Enterprise of 1934 and is now in Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

Goodyear car C-49, now on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum (photo: Dan Grossman, Airships.net)

Goodyear car C-49, now on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum (photo: Dan Grossman, Airships.net)

Enterprise (VI) (N1A)
Type: GZ-20A
First flight: November, 1979
Retired: May, 1991
Based at Pompano Beach, Florida

America (N3A)
Type: GZ-20A
First flight: June 29, 1982
Retired: April, 1992

Stars & Stripes (I) (N3A)
Type: GZ-20A
First flight: June 6, 1992
Last flight as “Goodyear Blimp”: October 10, 1998
Based at Pompano Beach, Florida

Stars & Stripes (II)(III) (N1A)
Type: GZ-20A
First flight: June 20, 1998
Based at Pompano Beach, Florida
Accidentally deflated in incident at Northeast Philadelphia Airport: August, 2000

Spirit of Goodyear (N3A)
Type: GZ-20A
First flight : February 17, 2000
Based at Wingfoot Lake
Retired: March, 2014

Spirit of Goodyear was christened by astronaut Sally Ride on March 15, 2000,

 

Spirit of Goodyear

Spirit of Goodyear (photo: Goodyear)

Columbia (VIII) (N10A)
Type: GZ-20A
First flight: May, 1986

Columbia (VIII) was re-named and re-registered in 1992 as:

Eagle (N2A)
First flight: February 4, 1992

Eagle was re-named and re-registered in 2002 as:

Spirit of America (N10A)
First flight: February, 1992
Based at Los Angles, California

The ship was re-christened Spirit of America on September 5, 2002, by Mrs. Letitia Driscoll, the mother of New York police officer Stephen Driscoll, who was killed in South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Spirit of Innovation (N2A)
First flight: June, 2006
Based at Pompano Beach, Florida

GZ-22 Spirit of Akron

Goodyear operated one Type GZ-22 blimp, built by Loral, from 1987-1999. Named Spirit of Akron, the GZ-22 was the only Goodyear blimp ever powered by jet engines, and was distinctive for the X-configuration of its tail assembly.

GZ-22 Spirit of Akron

GZ-22 Spirit of Akron (photo courtesy Mike Riffle/Airliners.net)

Type GZ-22

Volume: 247,800 ft3 (7,017 m3)
Length: 205 ft 6 in (62.64 m)
Width: 47 ft 0 in (14.33 m)
Height: 60 ft 2 in (18.34 m)
Gross weight: 15,000 lb (6804 kg)
Powerplant: 2 vectoring Allison 250-B17C turboprops, 420 hp (312.2 kW) each
Maximum speed: 65 mph (105 km/h)
Service ceiling: 10,000 ft (3050 m)
Crew: 1 pilot
Passengers: 10

Spirit of Akron (N4A)
Type: GZ-22
First flight: October 9, 1987
Crashed: October 28, 1999, at Suffield Township, Ohio

Control car of Spirit of Akron. (photo courtesy Darren Anderson/DSAvit/Airliners.net)

Car and vectoring engines of Spirit of Akron. (photo courtesy Darren Anderson/Airliners.net)

A Bright Future

With the enduring popularity of the Goodyear Blimp, and the company’s recent commitment to the Zeppelin NT airship program, we can expect the joy of seeing a Goodyear airship in the skies for many years to come.

Goodyear Blimp Resolute.

Goodyear Blimp Resolute. (photo by Dr. Alfred Hill, Kent O’Grady collection)

aerial-ambassadors

A Note on using this Guide:

What defines a particular blimp? Is it the car? The envelope? The name? The registration number?

Blimps with the same car, name, or registration number often had different envelopes at varying points in their careers, and cars were often rebuilt and used on different types of blimp.

Since this guide is intended to give the reader a sense of which blimps were flying at a particular time in history, and to allow the reader to identify blimps seen in photographs and referred to in historical documents, ships are identified by name and registration number. Where a ship with the same name is visually different — for example, because of a significantly larger envelope — a separate entry has been provided.

 

The text on this page and this compilation of information is copyright and may not be copied, reproduced, or used elsewhere in any form without written permission.

 

13 Comments on "The Goodyear Blimp, Today and Yesterday"

  1. Richard Schweitzer | November 6, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Reply

    Interesting, the article mentions “At the beginning of the war the the U.S. Navy took over Goodyear’s five advertising blimps (Resolute, Enterprise, Reliance, Rainbow, and Ranger) and operated them as Navy blimps L-4 through L-8…” and then accounts for the each corresponding Goodyear vehicles L-4 thru L-7, but doesn’t list which aircraft carried the L-8 designation… and it would be worth mentioning that L-8 (which I’m under the impression became the America post-war, but I could be misinformed) was involved in one the military’s most long-standing mysteries when she crashed in Daly City and gondola was found empty and the crew has never been found.

  2. Thanks for this informative website. I cited it in a new e-book I am about to release on Amazon.com. This book is all about how I rode in the blimp “Eagle” on 21 December 2001 and also about how anyone can get a ride on a Blimp.

    The general public impression is that you can’t get a ride on a Blimp because it’s “by invitation only.” I reveal some things that help level the playing field in this matter so that more people will have a chance.

    I am looking for a few fellow Blimp enthusiasts who will help launch the book by leaving an honest review on the Amazon sales page in return for a free copy of the book. Your help with this would be enormously appreciated.

    Contact me through the website http://bit.ly/1RoeGBg if you are willing to review and I’ll get you a free copy. I expect this book to slightly alter Blimp history by making getting rides a little more democratic.

    Thanks in advance for taking part.

    Regards,

    Joseph

  3. AmyCat =^.^= | March 2, 2016 at 3:25 am | Reply

    I was lucky enough to ride in the Columbia V when I was a child. My parents got tickets for my birthday. 🙂

  4. You missed one. Stars and Stripes which I saw crash in 2005. I was on my porch with my roommate and we noticed the blimp. I also saw a thunderstorm coming at it pretty fast. I told my roommate that we will be reading about that blimp on the news shortly. Sure enough it crashed. Luckily no one was injured.

  5. Cedric Elmer | June 12, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Reply

    Ever hear of a rigid airship named “The Vigilant” that flew in 1929? Can you send some information on it?

    Thank You.

  6. Joe Rimensberger | January 22, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Reply

    Good evening everybody ! I read and consulted with great interest this superb contribution on the great family of Goodyear blimps. Some time ago I discovered somewhere on Google a full-length picture of what most probably was a Goodyear blimp, registered NC33672, displaying over the whole envelope title like “Kept off the screen for 3 years – It’s coming at last ! The Outlaw – starring Jane Russell (name in electric bulbs). I would very much like to know more about this very Blimp, -Class, specifications, etc. Many thanks + regards from Switzerland. Joe

    • Wiliam Kastenmeier | February 28, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Reply

      Joe,
      According to the book U.S. Navy Pressure Airships by James R. Shock, page II-45, the blimp was the L-11 which was bought from the Navy by Howard Hughes to advertise his movie.
      This would make this airship a typical L type training blimp of WW2

  7. Larry Chambers | November 23, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Reply

    Dan
    What a nice collection of information. i really enjoyed reading it.
    Thanks for the heads up on Twitter.
    Larry

  8. This is an excellent addition to the website.

    Do you plan to to put it on hard copy, along with much of the brilliant stuff on the website?

  9. Excellent read!

  10. Great resource of information!

  11. Excellent job, Dan. Great information and photos. A must read for helium heads everywhere!!!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*