ERJ staff report (TB)
Akron, Ohio -- Goodyear's long aviation history of flying airships around the world will continue with a new agreement the company signed with a German zeppelin manufacturer.
ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co. KG has agreed to supply Goodyear with airships well into the next decade, the Akron-based tyre maker said. â€œThe Goodyear blimp is one of the most recognisable brand icons in the world. An event isn't considered truly special unless the Goodyear blimp is there to provide aerial coverage,â€ said Richard J. Kramer, the company's chairman, CEO and president. â€œI am pleased this investment will ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to experience the joy of seeing the Goodyear blimp grace the skies.â€
Over the years Goodyear said it has built and operated more than 300 airships-including two large rigid airships, the USS. Macon and USS. Akron. They've been a presence at many major sporting events, and in times of crisis-in the aftermath of hurricanes, etc.-have been flying billboards flashing special messages on their marquees.
Thomas Brandt, CEO of ZLT Zeppelin, noted the company and Goodyear â€œworked together almost 90 years ago to bring rigid airship technology to America and we're thrilled to be working together again.â€
Nancy Jandrokovic, Goodyear's director of Global Airship Operations, said the company's current airships â€œare approaching the end of their lifecycle, and we saw this as an opportunity to take the next evolutionary step in our airship program. Throughout the history of blimps, Goodyear has been an innovative leader. With Goodyear and Zeppelin working together again, we believe a new standard is about to set.â€
The Zeppelin LZ N07-101 model airships will be built by Zeppelin and Goodyear airship teams at Goodyear's Wingfoot Lake Airship Hangar near Akron. Construction on the first airship is scheduled to start in 2013, with the craft beginning operation in 2014.
Goodyear said the new airships will be slightly larger than those in its current fleet and will fly faster, carry more passengers and include state-of-the art avionics and flight control systems.
According to ZLT Zeppelin, the airships and technical support cost about $21 million each.
The tyre maker operates three airships in North America-the Spirit of Goodyear, based in Akron; the Spirit of Innovation in Pompano Beach, Fla.; and the Spirit of America in Carson, Calif. The company also has leased blimp operations in Europe and China.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)
Press release from Goodyear