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Goodyear Blimp Visits Lumley Aviation Center

Penn College students get a low-lying view of a high-profile airship.Students from Lumley Aviation Center were invited to get up close and personal Friday with the Goodyear blimp, in town to provide television coverage for the Little League World Series. One of the Goodyear maintenance technicians walked with the students around the airship while explainingdetails of blimp construction and maintenance.

Although the blimp is weightless when inflated, it weighs oversix tons without helium. It’s 50 feet tall and 192 feet in length. The aircraft can carry six passengers and a pilot at a maximum speed of 50 mph.

The Goodyear representative explained some of the peculiar issues involved in blimp operation. For example, a one-degree navigational error can result in several hours of delay in reaching a destination.

A Goodyear representative explains blimp operation during Friday's visit.Goodyear has been operating blimps since 1925. This aircraft, the “Spirit of Goodyear,” is based in Akron, Ohio, and is one of threeairships operated by the tire company.

Four pilots and 16 ground-crew members travel around the country with the aircraft. The ground crew works as avionics, maintenance and rigging technicians. In addition, its members work as administrative assistants.

Story and photos by Thomas D. Inman, associate professor of avionics

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