Goodyear will launch a new airship next spring to replace its Stars & Stripes blimp, which crashed June 16 during bad weather in Coral Springs, Fla.
The decision to replace the damaged Stars & Stripes, based in Pompano Beach, Fla., will return Goodyear's third airship to the U.S. fleet. 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 the Oct. 4 unveiling at the Wingfoot Lake Airdock near Akron.
The new blimp actually has been in the planning stage 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 being 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. The airship's other components, which will come mostly from the Stars & Stripes, are being refurbished and rebuilt at the Akron-area airdock.