GOODYEAR BLIMP, CARSON, CA, 1966
Last Saturday Evening after giving the “Theme Park” Tour of Downtown Los Angeles, I wound up celebrating with friends at the revolving cocktail lounge high atop the Bonaventure Hotel. Dusk ended and the night began as we sat there drinking and taking in the ever changing view of the neighboring skyscrapers and twinkling lights of the most modern metropolis on earth. Yes, it was VERY Tomorrowland. As if the experience weren’t out-of-this-world enough already, the blimp flew by. To me, a blimp sighting is always a magic moment – and has been my whole life.
Goodyear Blimps have been flying billboards for the tire and rubber company for 80 years. The tradition of the “Aerial Ambassadors” began in 1925 when Goodyear built its first helium-filled airship. Over the years Goodyear built more than 300 blimps, more than any other company in the world. The company’s world headquarters in Akron, Ohio was the center of blimp manufacturing for several decades. Today, there are three Goodyear Blimps. They are based in Akron, Ohio, Pompano Beach, Florida and Carson, California. The official name of our blimp is The Spirit of America. It’s Goodyear’s newest airship and the third to be based in California – the first was in 1968.
The Spirit of America makes about 10 flights per day. It has a one man crew – the pilot, and carries just five passengers. During daylight hours it takes invitation-only guests and VIPs for 45-minute rides. After dark, it becomes the ultimate billboard and a diamond in the sky.
Here’s to the Goodyear Blimp and YOU!!