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BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin

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Joe Offer 21 Sep 12 - 08:57 PM
gnu 21 Sep 12 - 09:05 PM
Rapparee 21 Sep 12 - 10:06 PM
catspaw49 21 Sep 12 - 11:05 PM
Amos 21 Sep 12 - 11:12 PM
catspaw49 22 Sep 12 - 12:02 AM
Joe Offer 22 Sep 12 - 03:58 AM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Sep 12 - 12:15 PM
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Joe Offer 03 Jul 14 - 09:15 PM
Don Firth 04 Jul 14 - 01:22 PM
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Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Jul 14 - 02:12 AM
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Subject: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 08:57 PM

My stepson, a relatively new pilot, subscribes to AOPA Pilot the magazine of the Airline Owners and Pilots Association. The October Issue (follow link for great photos) has the following article:

    A flying machine reminiscent of those imagined long ago by Jules Verne begins a slow, almost reluctant turn as pilot Michael Dougherty pushes one rudder pedal more than a full foot forward. His right hand spins a large wooden wheel that flanks his seat like a steamship's paddlewheel, while his eyes scan the sky moving ever so slowly by. Forward and back, he spins the wheel, sensing through his seat small oscillations in air that gently buffet the 192-foot long behemoth. Helium balances up to 12,800 pounds of polyester, neoprene, and aluminum, and Dougherty must keep air and helium pressures in trim by working a series of valves actuated by knobs and pull cables that move air forward and back, inside and out of an American icon. About 800 feet below, the crowd at EAA AirVenture (air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin) thins with the approaching sunset. Those who look skyward will see the Goodyear blimp Spirit of Goodyear, one of three airships that have crisscrossed the country for decades, lumbering slowly (30 mph or less, excluding winds) above major sporting events and other public gatherings, taking pictures for network television and broadcasting messages on a giant computer-controlled array of lights strung along the side of its Pilot Michael Dougherty waits to take his turn at the wheel (and rudder, and valve controls, and throttle controls) of the Spirit of Goodyear while the ground crew prepares to wrestle it to the ground.

    Pilot Michael Dougherty uses a side wheel to control elevators, rudder pedals to control yaw, engines with reversible propellers, and a series of knobs attached to cables (top right) that, when pulled, open valves controlling the flow of air from the envelope. On the ground, a dozen strong crew members await Dougherty's return. The pilot will use engine power and elevators controlled by that large wooden wheel to drive the ship back to earth, where it must be caught and held, its passengers exchanged carefully to keep the blimp in balance. Once ready for takeoff, the crew grips a rail around the bottom of the gondola and heaves it skyward, and then pulls it back down, bouncing the blimp on its landing wheel and back toward the sky as the pilot advances the throttles and pitches the blimp to a steep incline—up to 30 degrees of pitch.

    All of this is about to change: The age of the blimp, which is to say the age of the nonrigid airship carrying Goodyear colors, is about to end. Goodyear has rekindled an old partnership with the German company ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co, one that began in the 1920s and ended with the start of World War II. Together, the companies will produce—in Akron, Ohio—a set of replacements for the old blimps, Zeppelin NT airships with a semi-rigid frame. Testing will begin in 2013. The pilots will no longer rely on ground crews to capture them or fling them skyward: A Zeppelin NT, with rotating engines mounted high above the canopy on the airship's semi-rigid frame, will vector thrust where it is needed. The new airships will be able to launch and land like a helicopter, controlled with a fly-by-wire side stick in a cockpit more reminiscent of a regional airliner than the cockpit Dougherty occupies over Oshkosh, Wis., with analog gauges and a smattering of digital screens (GPS and weather radar among them) installed long after the airship entered service.

    Dougherty, one of the first Goodyear pilots to train on the new airship, said there are many perks to the upgrade from the pilot's perspective. "This is a physical challenge to fly," Dougherty said of the blimp, noting its constant demand for attention, anticipation, and action inside the cockpit. On IFR cross-country trips, pilots change places on the hour to control fatigue. But with the dawn of the new age of Zeppelin airships, that will change. Able to rotate engine pods and direct thrust, a Zeppelin NT can launch and land without outside help.

    Dougherty, assistant chief pilot and an airline veteran, said increased ease of maneuvering and elimination of ground crews to grab dangling ropes and gondola rails will put a new demand on the pilots: "In the NT, it's all on the pilot, so you really have to be focused when you're on the ground."

    A technical purist might be tempted to squawk, but Goodyear has no intention of changing one tradition: When the Zeppelin NTs enter service in early 2014, they will still be known as the "Goodyear blimp." The Akron, Ohio, tire and rubber company has no intention of sacrificing such a well-established brand name on the altar of technical accuracy.

    "I love the name," said company spokesman Ed Ogden. "That name's not coming out of my head."


One of the things I love about Los Angeles, is the Goodyear Blimp. When it's not traveling, it's moored in a field next to the San Diego Freeway, between the Harbor and Long Beach Freeways. I'll miss the Blimp, but it's nice to know it will replaced by a bigger and better Zeppelin - that will still be called the Goodyear Blimp. By the way, we have a Zeppelin here in Northern California, operated by Airship Ventures. It flies from Moffett Field, a place full of airship history, and it costs only $495 for a 90-minute flight.

-Joe-

Note: As of November 14, 2012, Airship Ventures ceased flight operations. The Zeppelin was disassembled and has been returned to her place of manufacture in Germany.


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: gnu
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 09:05 PM

Cool!

Maybe they can sub-name the first one The Madden? >;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 10:06 PM

Just as long as they continue to use helium instead of hydrogen.


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 11:05 PM

Actually Rap no American rigid airship ever used hydrogen except the Los Angeles and that was only before she was turned over to the US Navy by the German builders.

There were only 4 Rigids ever in service in the United States. The first one built here and to a German design was the Shenandoah. She shared hangar space at Lakehurst as well as helium with the Los Angeles. There actually was not enough helium in existence (and it was very costly as well) to fill the two giant airships so they swapped airtime and down time until the beautiful Shenandoah was lost in a storm over eastern Ohio.

Two more Rigids were built here in the states and were built at the Goodyear Airdock in Akron. The Akron and the Macon both had relatively short operational lives suffering crashes pretty early in their operations. The Los Angeles was quite successful but in the late 30's was decommisioned and scrapped.

I wish we had one around today as we do old planes of the era. The big rigids must have been truly a sight to behold. Think about the Goodyear blimp. It looks so big and yet it would require 2 and half of them, two football fields plus endzones to equal one rigid........They were far sleeker and at around 700 feet they were simply majestic.

They were also thought to be the technical wonders of the times and yet were obsolete before they flew. The storm in which the Shenandoah wrecked was a thunderstorm with wind shear and microburst patterns but no one at the time knew what that was. She was so huge that she was in two shears at the same time. It twisted apart and crashed in three pieces a few miles apart.

I rarely wish for things as I believe I have lived in the most interesting of times but I would love to been around in the days of rigid airship. So I amuse myself as a Shenandoah junkie and have visited the three wreck sites on numerous occasions. I also have about two feet of books on her and the Rigids around the world. Nice to see the rigid idea return but they aren't the Los Angeles, Akron, Macon or Shenandoah


Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: Amos
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 11:12 PM

My late father in law was the last active lighter-than-air ship captain in the USN, I am told. He flew blimps out of the Toms River area where the Hindenburg went down. A heroic guy, may he RIP. His widow, for many years, continued active service administering the Lighter than Air Association, a brave collection of those who served in blimps back in their heyday, which came to a close shortly after WW II.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 12:02 AM

Interesting Amos......The Airship group was at one time a decent sized branch of the service. They had days of "shows" where balloons, blimps, and rigids flew en masse above an airfield.

There is a move named "Dirigible" that sort of starred the Los Angeles. Here's a you tube clip and worth watching for the first few minutes. It ain't hard to pick out the monstrous and yet sleek Los Angeles flying amongst the blimps which are of similar size to the current Goodyear blimps.


The Los Angeles in the movies!


Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 03:58 AM

That movie clip was terrific, Spaw.

I tried to get into Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey after the Getaway in the fall of 2000. I wanted to see whatever was left of the Zeppelin base. I couldn't get in - the base was locked up tight because of the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen. I had to satisfy myself with looking through the fence from the outside. I did see one big hangar, though.

I did get to Moffett Field (near San Jose) a couple of years ago. I saw the huge blimp and Zeppelin hangars, and toured the nice museum they had there. I almost got a traffic ticket from a bored but overzealous cop at the base, but he let me go after half an hour of harassment. I tried to take a photo of the hangar while the cop was checking my life history, but he got nervous about that. Still, I had a nice view of that enormous building while I was "detained." It gave me a feeling of the size of those airships. Then I went to Stanford University and climbed the tower there, looking down on a football game with fireworks. And then the Airship Ventures Zeppelin flew by, making it a perfect day.

Moffett made the news today when a space shuttle flew by on its way to its new home at a museum in Los Angeles. The U.S.S. Macon was based at Moffett until it was lost in a storm off Point Sur, California, in 1935. Her sister ship, U.S.S. Akron was lost off the New Jersey coast in 1933.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 12:15 PM

Just as long as they continue to use helium instead of hydrogen.

Actually I think it's agreed that the problem with the Hindenberg didn't have anything to do with using Hydrogen rather than Helium, but came about because of other inflammable components.

And the factor that gave heavier than air machines the edge of airships was that the latter were essentially useless for miltary purposes, which meant they didn't have the same enormous amount of resources thrown into developing the technology.


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 02:22 PM

Fascinating the juxtaposition here of the last appearance of the space shuttle with the re-emergance pf the rigid dirigible.

Very like the kind of thing you'd have had slipped into a science fiction story about an unexpected future or an alternative universe back in the day, to give the reader that frisson of oddity...


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: frogprince
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 02:35 PM

Of all the current threads about big bags of gas, this one is the most enjoyable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 03:36 PM

Well Mac, there is some truth in what you say as the fabric and coating may have had much to do with the downing and loss of the Hindenburg. But hydrogen was without doubt the major contributing factor.   There were occasionally crashes of German and British Rigids where there was no fire but for the most part they all burned either before or after the crash.

The US had access to Helium but it was quite costly so most countries never went for it. The US never used anything else but although they lost the Akron, Macon and the Shenandoah fire was never involved in any way. Helium had some limiting factors as well but they were nothing compared to the problems with Hydrogen.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: gnu
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 03:44 PM

froggy... you never fail to crack me up!


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 04:36 PM

Just glad that dirigibles are getting another chance. I am not sure exactly why, but I've always liked them a lot. There had military applications for them, though. I think the fact that they were expensive and tended to catastrophe had more to do with the fact that they fell by the wayside...


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 05:20 PM

We drive the 405 (San Diego freeway) by the Goodyear field frequently, and often see the blimp coming or going. We'll have to keep an eye out for the changes.

~ Becky in Tucson (when not in Long Beach)


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 06:05 PM

There had military applications for them

Good for transporting heavy goods, if there was no hurry and nobody was trying to shoot them down. But not really useful in a conflict. Too vulnerable and too slow.

When it came to airships are a lot safer than aeroplanes - the Hindenburg disaster was pretty spectacular, but of the 97 people on board, 62 survived. Typically in a airliner disaster there are no survivors.


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 06:32 PM

Since I worked in Los Angeles in the 1970s, I have wondered about a huge hangar I'd see in Southgate, an industrial area south of downtown L.A. There was no Internet to explain such things back then. This page says it was a blimp hangar owned by Goodyear, but I never saw the blimp on the ground except at Carson, on the San Diego Freeway. That was the mooring spot for the blimp when I lived in L.A. in 1974, and the blimp still moors at the same spot.

That's only a small part of the aviation history of Los Angeles. I worked at the futuristic Federal Office Building on Aviation Boulevard, Western Region headquarters of the Federal Aviation Administration. Across the street was TRW Systems Group, which built satellites for the CIA. Various Hughes companies had plants all over the area.
Aviation Boulevard was once lined with aircraft factories, and the street is so wide because it once served as a taxiway for new aircraft to get to LAX for takeoff. You could spend weeks learning the stories of the aviation buildings around LAX.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Jul 14 - 09:15 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VG_wnJeH0fk

Some of the best film footage I've seen of a Zeppelin flight - the arrival of the Graf Zeppelin in New York City in 1929. Spaw would have loved this.

...and for us diehards, here's the full movie of the round-the-world voyage of the Graf Zeppelin:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4jq7oRxw-g

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Jul 14 - 01:22 PM

Back in the Thirties, when I was little more than a rug-rat, we were living in Pasadena, California, and often the Goodyear blimp or another such airship would be growling along overhead. Stately, sort of awe-inspiring. If we kids were indoors, the shout would come from someone outside and we'd all dash out in the front yard and watch the stately passage of this impressive sight.

Then we moved to Seattle in 1940, and I sort of missed seeing this overhead phenomenon. But occasionally, when this area has a local bash such as Seafair or the Gold Cup hydroplane races on Lake Washington, one of these impressive man-made overcasts will appear in the sky.

Still an awe-inspiring sight.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 04 Jul 14 - 09:47 PM

We drive by the blimp's home frequently.

At their web site they have information and pictures about "the big build" of the new zeppelin body: www.goodyearblimp.com.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jul 14 - 02:12 AM

I hope for a comeback, a passenger Zeppelin. Much quieter, less pollution.


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: meself
Date: 05 Jul 14 - 11:25 AM

My mother as a child saw the Hindenberg fly over the family farm, in Prince Edward Island.

I as a child saw the Goodyear Blimp fly over Tiger Stadium in Detroit. Once in a rare while, you would just happen to see it somewhere in the Windsor-Detroit area; you never knew where or when it would show up. (No internet, no Twitter, back then, kids).


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Aug 15 - 09:33 PM

I came across an Associated Press Story today:
    Goodyear retiring blimps, but fans need not fret
    By JOHN ROGERS and JAE C. HONG

    LOS ANGELES — The fabled Goodyear Blimp is retiring.

    But don't fret, blimp fans. That big, cigar-shaped thing you've seen floating over sports events all your life will still be there. It will also remain instantly recognizable with its blue-and-gold Goodyear logo emblazoned across the side.

    It just won't be, well, technically, a blimp.

    But that's OK, too, because from the ground it won't look much different from Goodyear's Spirit of America, which was deflated and disassembled earlier this month after a farewell flight across California.

    ''It's a brand new design. It is a much larger airship. It's a semi-rigid dirigible,'' Goodyear's Priscilla Tasker said of the new fleet of non-blimps replacing the company's three aging U.S. airships.

    In air-speak that means the new model has a fixed structure holding its big, gassy balloon in place. That's unlike a blimp, which goes flat when the helium is removed.

    ''But the most impressive features are the glass cockpit that is all fly-by-wire, the most state-of-the-art avionics in airships today,'' Tasker said.

    The first of the new models, Ohio-based Wingfoot One, took to the sky last year, replacing the 14-year-old Spirit of Goodyear. The last of the old ones, Florida-based Spirit of Innovation, will fly to California next month to replace Spirit of America while its replacement is being built. After that, Spirit of Innovation will be retired.

    The new ships, with three engines instead of two, will be able to hit freeway speeds of 73 mph and make less racket getting from place to place. They'll also be more maneuverable. And they'll still be carried aloft by helium.

    The overhaul comes on the 90th anniversary of Goodyear's entry into the dirigible business, but there's more than a birthday bash involved.

    Most people who see the iconic blimp hovering overhead are at a sporting event or major entertainment show like the Academy Awards.

    But the ship isn't there just to show off. The people inside its gondola are filming the bird's-eye-view scenes you see on television, and they say they'll be able to do that better with a faster, more maneuverable craft.

    With quieter engines you might not hear the new one coming. But it will be harder to miss once it gets there: The replacement models are 246 feet long, nearly the length of a football field and 50 feet longer than the old ones.


I can hardly wait to see the new Goodyear Zeppelins.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Aug 15 - 08:01 PM

I'd love to see airships back in a big way. They have many advantages over other forms of air travel. Where they lost out was because basically they aren't suited to warfare, unlike aeroplanes.

The fact that they are so much slower than aeroplanes I actually see as a point in their favour, even for passengers. And when it comes to freight transport there are major advantages.


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Subject: RE: BS: Goodbye, Goodyear Blimp-Hello, Zeppelin
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Aug 15 - 10:17 PM

There was a Zeppelin in the San Francisco area for a couple of years. Operated by a firm known as Airship Ventures, it was based at Moffatt Field, the West Coast Navy Zeppelin base for the U.S. in the 1930s - and now the home of Google. It cost $500 for a 3-hour flight over San Francisco. I was tempted, but it was just too expensive. I think a lot of people thought that too costly for a three-hour flight. I believe the San Francisco Zeppelin went back to Germany. Sure was fun to see, even though it was much smaller than the Zeppelins of the 1930s.

There's a great little museum at Moffatt Field, worth a stop for all airship fans visiting San Francisco.

I tried to see the airship operations buildings at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey back in 2000, but they wouldn't let me in - even though I held a top secret security clearance at the time, that didn't give me permission to do tourist stuff. I happened to fly over Lakehurst a couple years ago, and got a great view of the Zeppelin hangars there.

-Joe-


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