Goodyear (NASDAQ: GT), a leading tire company in North America, is working on the construction of its newest airship.
This week marks an important milestone in the company’s plans to replace its current fleet of blimps as workers install an envelope over the aluminum and carbon fiber framework of the first of its new-design airships.
The airships are supplied by German zeppelin manufacturer ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik and being built with Zeppelin and Goodyear teams at Goodyear’s hangar in nearby Suffield.
Compared to the current fleet of Goodyear blimps, the new airship models will be longer, faster and more maneuverable, says the company.[ Also Read: Universal Pictures’ Blimp for Despicable Me 2 ]
The envelope being applied to the new airship is made of polyester with a DuPont Tedlar film. As it is stretched over each metal truss, the envelope is attached. When complete, the helium-filled envelope will have a volume of 297,527 cubic feet.
“This is a major project that requires the dedication and skilled handiwork of these combined teams of airship experts. The result will be the only Zeppelin model airship in North America. It represents a strong investment in Goodyear’s airship program, helping to ensure that Goodyear will remain at the forefront of aerial broadcast coverage and support,” said Nancy Ray, Goodyear’s director of Global Airship Operations.[ Also Read: Goodyear Kicks Off ‘Gives Back’ Campaign ]
Upcoming construction milestones, according to Ray, include the attachment of the airship’s tail fins and passenger gondola –scheduled to happen this year. In early 2014, key steps will be the crew training, airship certification, installation of the electronic video boards and eventual christening.
Goodyear’s blimp fleet generates significant value for the company through visibility at major events, on-camera exposure during television broadcast, tire sales through support of Goodyear dealer and store promotions, and the goodwill generated by support of non-profit and public service programs.
In the picture above: Giant tail fins await in the foreground as the envelope is installed over the framework of the newest Goodyear Blimp, being assembled this summer at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake Hangar in Suffield, Ohio.