Akron: Newest Goodyear blimp construction continues

12:09 PM, Jul 12, 2013   |    comments
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  • Getty Images: Mike Zarrilli
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AKRON -- The construction project for a faster, larger airship moves ahead with the installation of the envelope over the rigid internal framework.

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.

Those airships are supplied by German zeppelin manufacturer ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik and are being built with Zeppelin and Goodyear teams at Goodyear's hangar in nearby Suffield.

Goodyear blimps

Compared to the current fleet of Goodyear blimps, the new airship models will be longer, faster and more maneuverable. 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.

Upcoming construction milestones 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.

During its long operational history, Goodyear has built and operated more than 300 lighter-than-air vehicles since 1917, including two large rigid airships -- the U.S.S. Macon and U.S.S. Akron.

This is the first semi-rigid airship to be built in the 95-year history of the Wingfoot Lake Hangar.

For more than 87 years, the Goodyear blimps have appeared at the most watched news, entertainment and sporting events around the world.

The blimps also heavily support local and national charities, and community emergency response programs. Goodyear owns and operates three airships in the United States.

Check out the Goodyear fleet

Goodyear is one of the world's largest tire companies. It employs about 69,000 people and manufactures its products in 52 facilities in 22 countries around the world.

Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry.

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