AKRON (Oct. 5, 2005) — Goodyear will launch a new airship next spring to replace the Stars & Stripes, which crashed June 16 during bad weather in Pompano Beach, Fla.
The decision to replace the damaged Stars & Stripes will return Goodyear's airship fleet in the U.S. to three. The Akron-based tire maker has not decided whether to retain the Stars & Stripes name or christen the new blimp with a new name, a spokesman said during an unveiling at the Wingfoot Lake Airdock in suburban Akron.
The new blimp actually has been in planning for the past two years as a previously scheduled 2006 replacement for the Stars & Stripes, which has operated in Florida since 1992. It was rebuilt in 2000/2001 after it was damaged in an accident near Philadelphia.
Goodyear officials declined to say what the new airship will cost. A company video on its blimps put the value of an airship at $5 million.
While the new blimp is being built, Goodyear will station its Spirit of Goodyear airship—normally located at the Wingfoot Lake Airdock—in Florida.
The company already has fabricated the new blimp's neoprene-coated polyester envelope, which it displayed at the Oct. 4 unveiling. The airship's other components, which will come mostly from the Stars & Stripes, are being refurbished and rebuilt at the Akron-area airdock.