Tying yourself to a bunch of giant helium balloons at a party might be an easy feat for Snoopy when he feels like catching a bit of air, but if you want a similar sensation, the only option is hitching a ride in one of the three Goodyear Blimps stationed across mainland America.
Comissioned in 2011 from Luftschiffbau Zeppelin, Germany, the fleet of three blimps is now used primarily for advertising, aerial sports, documentary filming and for lucky media folks like us! Seeing one in the flesh is as surreal as hallucinating of Noah’s Ark.
At almost 247ft, it’s as long as a football field, as wide as a trailer truck at 46ft, and taller than a five-storey building at 57.57ft, it’s no secret that it works as a fulgurant billboard in the skies. Not open to general public, unless you’re a generous donor to Goodyear’s charity programs, this is an experience worth donating for.
First pressed into service on May 21, 1929, the Mayflower was one of the earliest versions of the Goodyear Blimp. Built differently from the modern blimps, the Mayflower was also much smaller than the current gen models. It was used for aerial surveillance during the war and also in the Beatles movie, Help!.
The GZ stands for Goodyear-Zeppelin after the collaborative effort between the American and the German firms, but this actual airship was built by Loral from 1987-1999. Powered by jet engines, it was identified by its X-configuration tail assembly and could carry up to 10 passengers in its gondola.
The newest airship in operation is less than two years old. It can achieve a max speed of 117kmph and has an internal volume that would fill 3.5 Olympic-size swimming pools. The helium is of such low pressure that it would fly safely even with a puncture. Its semi-rigid framework allows the propellors and gondola to be mounted safely.