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.

NOCHE

Meaden & Moore

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.


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


Goodyear's popular blimp bids farewell
After nearly 14 years, Goodyear is decommissioning its 'Spirit of Goodyear' airship to make room for new Zeppelins this spring
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Northeast Ohio residents, Goodyear employees and blimp crews have been sharing memories as they get ready to say goodbye to the ‘Spirit of Goodyear.’
Courtesy of Amanda Rabinowitz
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

The next time you look up to the sky and see one of Goodyear’s signature blimps, it will be noticeably different. The ‘Spirit of Goodyear’ airship that’s been flying out of Northeast Ohio for the last 13 years is retiring to Florida.

WKSU’s Amanda Rabinowitz reports on the blimp’s final flights in the Akron-area.

LISTEN: A blimp's farewell

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (2:24)


A Northeast Ohio icon
The 13-year-old bold blue airship with its bright yellow logo is leaving for a winter stay in Florida before it’s put into retirement next year. Commissioned in 2000 by NASA astronaut Sally Ride, it’s been based at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake air dock east of Akron and has flown longer than most blimps of its design. PA090066.JPG (626×480)

Dreams and memories
Gliding at an altitude of about 1,200 feet above downtown Akron, blimp pilot Greg Poppenhouse is in his glory, reminiscing about some of his favorite flights, especially the lights flying above New York City. Poppenhouse flew helicopters in the army and says flying Goodyear’s blimps had always been his dream. His dream became reality when he was hired as a Goodyear factory worker 15 years ago and an airman position opened up.  

PA090058.JPG (626×480)"Every day is different, every group of passengers is different, every landing is different, the winds constantly changing so…no two days are the same."

Nearly a dozen crew members follow the blimp wherever it goes to help reel it in and hold it down for landings and take offs. Nancy Ray, director of Goodyear’s global airship program, says these final days are bittersweet.PA090021.JPG (626×480)

"Because it has helium in it, it expands and contracts and it’s almost like it breathes. And so because of that, the team is very attached to it because there’s always someone with it. So if something were to happen to it, everybody’s affected by it. So, it’s hard…They’re attached to it, I’m attached to it, obviously, you can’t help it; it’s just an awesome thing."

Old vs. new
Despite its easy-going, slow drift across the sky, flying a blimp takes muscle and sweat. In the cockpit, Greg Poppenhouse uses both feet to steer and his right arm to drive the large wheel that controls the altitude. 

This spring, Goodyear will unveil its new fleet of NT Zeppelins being built at the Wingfoot Lake air dock…They’ll be operated electronically with less effort…and Ray says the public will notice a difference too.

"The graphics will be different, it’s much longer, and it’s much quieter, so it will sound much different. I think a lot of people are used to hearing the sound of the airships as they know it, the Goodyear blimp…and it will change." 
 PA090044.JPG (626×480)

Farewell messages 
The Spirit of Goodyear begins its journey to Pompano Beach, Florida, this weekend with a few stops along the way for college football games. It will continue to fly in Florida before its gondola is donated to a museum. In the meantime, Goodyear is wants residents to share memories on Facebook and Twitter…and the airship is saying its own goodbye --- flashing messages including, “Thanks for the memories, Akron.”
(Click image for larger view.)


Related WKSU Stories

A new Goodyear blimp is being assembled in Northeast Ohio
Friday, March 22, 2013

Goodyear celebrates new global headquarters in Akron
Thursday, May 9, 2013

Goodyear blimp gondola heading to the Smithsonian
Monday, November 14, 2011

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

Brunswick will turn tornado sirens back on after bad weather
Put the sirens back after the storms, in the mean time just sit and wait for another tornado . That's Brunswick for you lived here 44 years and it has always be...

Oberlin council may rescind its gun ban, but is considering alternatives to keep it in effect
Seems that the only scared, paranoid people are the anti-gun people, really.

Massive pipeline planned to pump Ohio shale products to Texas
This needs stopped. Ohioans pay the price, putting up with pollution, leaks, explosions, and the top one percent profit from exporting fracked product to China.

National Weather Service confirms three tornado touchdowns yesterday
I was driving back from a party and was caught in the middle of a large thunderstorm. The hail and lightning were a whole light closer than usual, is something ...

Another Indians season opens with Chief Wahoo under scrutiny
The picture you have for Robert rocha is not him. He has long hair. No idea who that guy is in that picture

Portman predicts McDonald's confirmation, but says it won't be easy
I sent the following note to Senator Blumenthal after reading commentary from yesterday's hearing: Senator, You certainly have the right to ask Mr. McDonald que...

Seven minutes changed everything, but what changed Ashford Thompson?
He shot the guy four times in the head. I have never been that drunk or mad, and I have been through it. Shoot a guy once is bad, maybe a mistake, shoot a guy f...

First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
I am interested in cricket flour to replace soy flour in a low carbohydrate diet. As soon as you have cricket flour available for the average person, please le...

New process starts digesting sludge in Wooster
Awesome! When do our sewage rates decrease accordingly?

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