News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Akron General

Greater Akron Chamber


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Economy and Business


A new Goodyear blimp is being assembled in Northeast Ohio
Engineers promise it's longer, faster, quieter, more maneuverable
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI


Senior Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
A model of the new Goodyear NT designed by ZLT Zeppelin and Goodyear
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Workers began building a new generation of Goodyear blimps this week.  The new model will be longer and faster than the model we see flying over Northeast Ohio today.

It' a joint venture between Goodyear and the German company ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik. WKSU' Mark Urycki got a look inside Wingfoot hangar and filed this report:
Audio story

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (5:12)


(Click image for larger view.)

A mix of German and American workers are bolting together parts on the floor of Wingfoot hangar in Suffield, just outside Akron. More airships have been built in this 1917 building than anywhere in the world.

Up above, a camera is taking time lapse photographs to capture the dawn of a new era at Goodyear. They’ll replace the present day GZ 20 blimps with a version called the Goodyear NT. 

It will have three engines and be 50 feet longer than today’s blimp. Goodyear’s  Director of Global Operations for Airships Nancy Ray says the new blimp will have significant improvements.

“First off the ship is faster, so our cruising speed today is about 30 mph.  The cruising speed with the new airship is about 50-55 mph.  They are quieter so you guys will have to listen much closer to hear us coming over.”  

For the first time since World War II, the Goodyear blimp will have an internal frame. That’s what the crew are assembling this week.

Now, in Akron, lighter than air aficionados will argue that the aluminum and carbon fiber frame makes it a zeppelin. 

Blimp spokesman Ed Ogden …

“Technically, it’s not a blimp, it’s an airship, a semi-rigid airship. I would never discourage anyone from calling it a blimp. I like the term.”  It may be quieter, but Nancy Ray says the new blimp may be more noticeable. “We are working on a brand new electric sign developed completely in-house. They’re actually testing it today.  It will be more than double the LED’s so the pixels will be much greater. It will be much brighter so we’ll be able to do graphics day and night.” 


One of the American mechanics working with the German crew from ZLT Zeppelin is Tom Bradley. The Air Force veteran who grew up in Dayton calls himself an aviation nut. “I’ve spent my life watching the Goodyear blimp fly over as a kid. Urycki: “You have a one in a million job.”   Bradley: “I have no doubt I’m one of the luckiest mechanics ever.” 

The basic design of the ship is from ZLT Zeppelin, but Goodyear made alterations to adapt it for what it needs.

One of the young blimp pilots, James Kosmos, offered some ideas on the cockpit design. He used to fly jets. 

So, what’s it like going from jet speed to blimp speed?

“The blimps are way more fun.  20 mph at 1,000 feet is more fun. You see a lot more and it’s a little bit more of a challenge to fly, too. So it makes it exciting.” 

The most notable change for the pilots will be that the three engines can vector or tilt so the new blimp can take off or land straight up and down, like a helicopter. A ground crew won’t be needed to hold it steady. And the pilot won’t have to strong-arm a big wheel anymore. The new blimp will have fly-by-wire electronic controls.

The Goodyear NT will also have a new skin: polyester with a layer of Tedlar polyvinyl fluoride.

Officials aren’t saying what the blimp costs.

The frame will be finished in May, the envelope goes on in June, the gondola in August. The first flight is expected in late fall.

Listener Comments:

I want that blimp to stop following me around!!
Every day at around 12:30 noon,it flies to firestone park
And then turns around.
What are they actually using it for; you tell me.


Posted by: Joe (Akron) on March 28, 2013 11:03AM
The Graf did visit Akron in 1933. See photo above.


Posted by: Mark Urycki (Akron) on March 25, 2013 9:03AM
In the 1930's, I witnessed the overflight of an airship in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. It sounded like a squadron of planes. I read that in 1933 ( I was 4 then) the Graf Zeppelin was visiting the Century of Progress exhibition. Or maybe it was the Akron. Any thoughts anyone?


Posted by: Dave Newton (Las Vegas, Nevada) on March 23, 2013 11:03AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Local Ebola concerns cause officials to pay more attention to West Africa
I have a better idea, let's secure our borders and spend those billions of dollars on our own first.

HUD and Cuyahoga Land Bank extend a housing deal for another year
Need to sale lot, and would like to know how to contact someone to see if they may be interested in the property that sat between two lots. If you can give me...

Akron Beacon Journal details abuse claims against televangelist Angley
In the early 90's I went forth for pray. And the man was anointed by the hand of God. Just a fact I will never forget

Lawmaker questions why a million voters didn't get absentee applications
He's a damn lie! I vote n all elections. I missed 1. Haven't gotten my absentee ballot and their making it hard to get one.

Thirsty Dog Brewery warns it might have to leave Akron
Why is it the city's responsibility to find this guy a location? There are a hundred realestate companies that could help him.

Kent State sends home three after contact with second Ebola-stricken nurse
Why weren't all health workers who were around Duncan quaranteened for 21 days and tested for Ebola? That's a no-brainer. Why was Vinson allowed to travel right...

New book says Willoughby Coal is haunted...and that's good for business
Would love to see a series of books that would just thrill me. I cannot wait to visit some of the locations. And revisit some of the locations I have already vi...

Cleveland Indians to continue with 'dynamic pricing'
pricing is too high for a family as well as people like me who are on a fixed income. Bleacher seats are cheaper but concessions are rediculous.

Kasich talks about faith, drugs and education -- but never FitzGerald
The idea that you can learn more by talking to a 90 year old person than from a history book is just another example of how the GOP hates education and knowledg...

Third-grade charter school students fail state testing
A partisan anti-charter group came out with analysis that ODE says is based on incorrect data. So why is this a story? It doesn't seem to rise to WKSU's typic...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University