Anyone who's ever watched a major American sporting event on TV has probably seen the blimp -- probably circling over a huge stadium. But if you've never heard one in person, you should know that the sound of a blimp is unique among aircraft. There's nothing else that sounds like one. If you live in Akron, which is still the home of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (though most of the other rubber companies have been bought, sold, and moved), the sight and sound of the Goodyear Blimp flying slowly overhead is almost commonplace.
|One blimp is a common sight in Akron. |
Two flying together is pretty rare, even here.
But today was unusual - even in Akron. Looking up for the familiar silver, blue, and gold blimp, I saw there was not one, but two blimps circling overhead.
The two blimps were flying in tandem as part of a "farewell tour" as they are both being moved to new bases - one going to California, and the other going to Florida. The two blimps are actually very different from one another. The older of the two is the Spirit of Innovation, a "true" blimp in that it has no rigid framework holding its helium vessel. It is the shorter, "rounder" looking blimp at the top of my photo. The Spirit of Innovation is a model known as a GZ-20, which has been the standard Goodyear Blimp model since the 1960s.
The other blimp, a newer model, is Wingfoot One, which is longer, and of a completely different design from the Spirit of Innovation. Wingfoot One is what some might technically call a "Zeppelin" which in this case has a lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber framework supporting the helium vessel. Wingfoot One is heading to its new, permanent base in Florida, and another yet-to-be named blimp of the same model is currently being built nearby to replace it at the Akron-area base.
OK - other than the fact that I saw this on my bike ride home, this doesn't really have much to do with bicycles (and I won't go into a retro-grouchy rant about carbon fiber blimp frames). But it was too cool not to share.