CARSON, Calif. (Dec. 4, 2003) — A minor blimp crash left spirits slightly deflated at a Goodyear air dock in Carson.
Goodyear's “Spirit of America” blimp crashed just before 10 p.m. Dec. 3 as it was trying to land at its base, authorities said. The only persons on board were the blimp's pilot and a photographer, who reported minor pain in his knee. No other injuries were reported.
Sgt. Paul Rice of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said as the blimp approached its landing site it was not accurately lined up with its ground moorings. The ground crew instructed the pilot to abort the landing and circle to try again.
“But he didn't have enough power to do that,” Sgt. Rice told Tire Business.
The blimp drifted about 300 yards off the landing yard into an adjacent plant nursery, where it struck a truck parked by the nursery before coming to rest in 4-foot piles of mulch. Sgt. Rice said the crash caused minimal damage on the ground, and the blimp's nose was stuck in the ground while its body rested at a 30-degree angle.
“The front of the blimp…was misshapen, but most of the air was shifted back into the tail section,” he said, adding early morning reports said some air was leaking.
The blimp is one of three airships owned by the tire maker. The “Spirit of Goodyear” is based in Akron, and the “Stars & Stripes” is based in Pompano Beach, Fla.
A Goodyear spokeswoman said the company is conducting an investigation into the incident. Damage estimates to the blimp were not immediately available. She said the blimp had been on a television assignment, flying over the Staples Center.