CARSON, Calif.Goodyear Airship Operations is continuing its transition to a new model of blimps.
The company retired its Los Angeles-based Goodyear blimp Spirit of America in mid-August.
The last telecast the airship conducted was Aug. 2 at the Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles on ESPN.
The GZ-20A model airship will be decommissioned and be replaced in the Los Angeles market by its twin ship Spirit of Innovation in late September, Goodyear said in a news release.
The firm said the transition is taking place as it introduces a fleet of next-generation NT Zeppelin model airships. It christened Akron-based Wingfoot One in August 2014, which is a Zeppelin model LZ N07-101. Spirit of America's replacement is being constructed now, with completion expected by March.
Wingfoot One will relocate to Florida later this year, a Goodyear spokeswoman said. The second NT Zeppelin will replace Spirit of America in California once complete.
The retirement for Spirit of Innovation has not been set yet, but the spokeswoman said it will remain in California for about 18 months before it is decommissioned.
Construction will begin on a third NT blimp in 2016, and Goodyear projects completion by year-end 2017 for introduction in 2018. The final new blimp will operate out of its Akron-area base.
The two new blimps will be based on the Wingfoot One design, she said. The new model is about 50 feet longer at 246 feet than the older model and runs faster because it operates with three engines. The new blimps will transition from an analog cockpit to a glass cockpit.
Spirit of America was christened on Sept. 5, 2002. Its name was selected as a tribute to the U.S. following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Goodyear said it is one of only two GZ-20A classified airships that still exist in the world.
The blimp will enter the hangar for a five-day decommissioning process on Aug. 10, which involves a controlled deflation and removal of equipment.
The blimp's gondola will be donated to the Planes of Fame air museum in Chino, Calif., and its envelope will be repurposed and donated to Trash for Teaching, an educational program that will use it for different applications, the spokeswoman said.
Most of the other parts from Spirit of America will be used as spare parts when operating Spirit of Innovation in California.
This report appeared in Rubber & Plastics News, an Akron-based sister publication of Tire Business.