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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Goodyear Ditches Blimps For Zeppelins

Posted By on Thu, May 5, 2011 at 3:05 PM

A rendering of a Goodyear Zeppelin. Alternate name: Zoso.
  • A rendering of a Goodyear Zeppelin. Alternate name: Zoso.

Get ready to say goodbye to the blimp and hello to the zeppelin.

After 100 years of building and flying blimps, and after 43 of using (basically) the same blimp design, Goodyear announced that come 2013, it will be swapping out its three blimps with zeppelins, which will be built in a partnership with German-based ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik. They will be manufactured at the Akron company's Wingfoot Lake hangar base and cost $21 million each, a sound investment for something most noted for floating over stadiums.

What are the differences? Via the ABJ:

Instead, they will have a semi-rigid aluminum and carbon fiber interior skeleton. Blimps are basically helium-filled bags that don't have interior skeletons to help support the envelope and other parts.

The new airships will also be significantly larger than the now-flying blimps — 246.4 feet in length compared to the current 192 feet. The new envelope will be 64.6 feet in width compared to 46 feet now.

And the new airship model will be able to carry 13 people; Goodyear blimps now are limited to 7, including the pilot.

• Top speed will be 73 mph compared to 54 mph.

Snoopy was unavailable for comment, but is probably really jealous right now.

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