• Image Credit: Goodyear
  • Image Credit: Goodyear
  • Image Credit: Goodyear
  • Image Credit: Goodyear
  • Image Credit: Goodyear
Goodyear has announced that it has completed construction on an all-new blimp, and it's asking for your help in naming the thing.

The new airship is more technologically advanced than any of the company's three blimps in current operation, as well as being larger, faster and more maneuverable. We were surprised to learn that previous Goodyear Blimps have used a manual flight system that dates back to 1925 – tried and true, we suppose – where the new ship will make use of modern avionics and flight control systems. The aircraft features computer-regulated controls operable via a joystick to give more precise control, and a top speed of 73 miles per hour (the existing crafts made do with 50 mph). At 246-feet long, it's 50 feet longer than previous blimps, and it carries a 12-passenger gondola.

Goodyear already runs a fleet of three GZ-20-class blimps, named Sprit of Goodyear (Ohio based), Spirit of America (California based) and Spirit of Innovation (Florida based). So, while Goodyear is inviting your suggestion for a name for its new Zeppelin NT-class craft, it seems the company has a definite theme it is fond of. The big winner will get exclusive use of the blimp for a day, which you have to admit is pretty boss. Click through to submit your own naming suggestion before April 4 – we're going to suggest Spirit of High-Grip Corners, so don't steal it.

If you need some inspiration to come up with blimp names, by all means check out the videos below. The time-lapse of the new blimp being built is especially impressive.

Show full PR text
Goodyear Unveils New State-of-the-Art Blimp

Goodyear Reveals Larger, Faster Airship;
Launches Nationwide Contest to Choose its Name

AKRON, Ohio, March 14, 2014 / PRNewswire / - The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company today unveiled an all-new, state-of-the-art version of its world-famous icon, the Goodyear Blimp. The new airship is larger, faster, and more maneuverable and builds on the company's legacy as the world's leading builder and operator of airships.

The new blimp was introduced to media, Goodyear associates and dealers at an event held at Goodyear's Wingfoot Lake hangar in Suffield, Ohio. The blimp is scheduled to begin test flights over Northeast Ohio later this month before going into service in the summer.

"The completion of the new blimp marks the beginning of a new era for our airship program and reflects Goodyear's commitment to remaining at the forefront of aerial broadcast coverage and support," said Paul Fitzhenry, senior vice president, global communications. "This airship will offer enhanced aerial television coverage capabilities, increased flight range to cover more events and an unparalleled passenger experience."

In conjunction with the unveiling, Goodyear announced the launch of a nationwide contest to name the new blimp.

Construction of the new airship

Assembly of the new blimp began in March 2013 at Goodyear's Wingfoot Lake hangar. An international team of engineers and technicians from Goodyear and Germany's ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik worked side by side to complete the build project. Parts such as the tail fins and gondola were built in Germany and shipped to the U.S. for assembly. The balloon-like body of the airship – the "envelope" – is made of polyester with an innovative film from DuPont™ called Tedlar®, surrounding a semi-rigid internal structure, which differentiates this airship from previous Goodyear blimps.

New appearance honors tradition

This airship is the first of a new generation of Goodyear blimps that will be different in construction, appearance, and operation than the current fleet of blimps. The new helium-filled airship is 246 feet long, more than 50 feet longer than the previous blimps and just 18 yards shorter than an American football field. The blimp features a new paint scheme while retaining Goodyear's logo and traditional blue and yellow branding on a silver envelope.

The gondola delivers an unparalleled passenger experience with seating for up to 12 passengers and with improved viewing through larger, wrap-around windows, providing sweeping panoramic views. In addition, a new interior and seating will add to the ride's comfort.

Innovation in flight

The new airship incorporates the latest in on-board avionics and flight control systems. Whereas pilots of the previous generation of blimps controlled the airships' movements with a manual flight system in use since 1925, the new ship features custom computer-controlled avionics. Electronic controls work in conjunction with an on-board computer to regulate engine thrust, up-and-down movement, and right-and-left movement. Tail fin operation will be controlled by a joystick device. These advancements result in more precise operation of the airship while in flight, on landing, and on take off. In addition, the new airship has a top speed of 73 miles per hour, compared to the current maximum of approximately 50 miles per hour giving the blimp greater range to cover more events.

"HELLO, My Name Is..."

Every Goodyear blimp needs a name and, once again, the company is inviting the public to participate in a Goodyear "Name the Blimp" contest. Entrants over 18 years of age in the United States and Washington, DC can submit a name for the new blimp by visiting www.Goodyear.com/NametheBlimp or www.Facebook.com/GoodyearBlimp. One name will be chosen from the entries and the contest winner will join the Goodyear Blimp for a day of airship activities. In addition, nine runner-up winners will receive a set of Goodyear tires. The contest opens on Friday, March 14 at 9 a.m. EST and will close on Friday, April 4.

This will be only the second blimp in history to get its name from a consumer naming contest. The first contest was held in 2006 and featured more than 20,000 unique names. The winning name, Spirit of Innovation, was given to the airship that now operates from Pompano Beach, Fla.

Full contest rules, format, and entry form can be found at www.Goodyear.com/NametheBlimp.

Goodyear Blimp History

During its long operational history, Goodyear has built more than 300 lighter-than-air vehicles, including two large rigid airships – the U.S.S. Macon and U.S.S. Akron. This is the first semi-rigid airship to be built in the 95-year history of Goodyear's Wingfoot Lake hangar. The new airship model replaces the previous "GZ-20" model that flew for 45 years.

Since 1925, the Goodyear blimps have appeared at the most watched news, entertainment and sporting events around the world. The blimps also heavily support local and national charities, and community emergency response programs.

Goodyear is one of the world's largest tire companies. It employs about 69,000 people and manufactures its products in 52 facilities in 22 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 10 Months Ago
      Frank: It's the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girls dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day. Jane: Goodyear? Frank: No, the worst.
      • 10 Months Ago
      Since it's semi-rigid, Spirit of Viagra or Spirit of Cialis names would be out of the running.
      • 10 Months Ago
      Well obviously it depends on the city they base it out of. I recommend they call it Spirit of Gridlock and base it out of…. DC. Or maybe Spirit of Corruption? Spirit of Incompetence? So many options for DC!!
      • 10 Months Ago
      Blargh someone took mine: "Tread Zeppelin" I need to be more creative haha
      • 10 Months Ago
      Technically, this is a zeppelin (semi-rigid airship), not a blimp (non-rigid airship). New controls are nice and all, but the semi-rigid frame is why the new zeppelin is so much faster and more maneuverable than the floppy ol' blimps.
      • 10 Months Ago
      Run flat
      Andrew Pappas
      • 10 Months Ago
      Spirit of Hindenburg
      • 10 Months Ago
      Yes it is a semi ridged but Goodyear is keeping the Blimp term as that is what the public knows their airships by. It is hard to change 100 years of Blimp. Also it would sound weird to hear them say over the track is the Goodyear semi Ridged. Besides you could get even more technical and call it what it really is a Zeppelin as it was built by Goodyear and the Zeppelin company who have had a relationship back to the 20's and 30's. Yes it is the original Zeppelin company as it was restarted by the Great Grandson of Count Zeppelin using the money set aside after WW2 for the town of Friedrichshafen Germany to restart the Zeppelin company some day. Well they did. The new Goodyear airship took to the sky in Akron Ohio today and made it's first test trip from the hanger to the Goodyear headquarters and back. It is the first of many test flights and certification test for the FAA to come. It flew past my window at my office today and was a nice sight to see. It for sure is a larger ship. The technology in it is much more than the semi ridged frame that makes it so advanced. The fly by wire system, the better skin the more powerful and efficient engines all pay a major part. We here in town love our airships and we are excited to see the next to being built here soon. By 2018 we should see all three in the air here at once. Might even see one of the old ones flying along side it too.
        • 10 Months Ago
        Blimp is a definition, a specific aircraft type designation, not a nickname. "Goodyear Blimp" was simply calling each of the current three by its rightful name. The new Zeppelin cannot be called a blimp because that is not what it is. That would be like calling a gyrocopter a helicopter. Sure, they both have rotor systems but … Goodyear Airship would be more accurate if using the trade name Zeppelin is objectionable. Goodyear Dirigible is a non-starter but calling it a blimp would be galling, like writing "your" when you mean "you're." Goodyear is more concerned with maintaining its image than with setting high standards. They could have chosen to educate the public; instead, they chose to pander.
      • 10 Months Ago
      Blimpin' Ain't Easy
      • 10 Months Ago
      Spirit of a Good Day
      • 10 Months Ago
      Jean Luc Picard.
      • 10 Months Ago
      Name it in honor of the breaking bad guy: The Heisenberg
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