FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany — A Goodyear airship is flying over Europe again for the first time in eight years.
A Goodyear-branded Zeppelin NT airship went for its maiden voyage over Germany on May 26 in preparation for its inaugural tour of Europe in the coming weeks, the Akron-based tire maker said.
The new airship, operated by Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei G.m.b.H., is scheduled to shoot aerial coverage of upcoming European motorsports races, the company said, such as the European Le Mans Series and British Touring Car Championship, two series that Goodyear supplies.
The semi-rigid airship — which is about 82 yards long and about 19 yards high — is the same model as the three that operate in the U.S., Goodyear said.
The company has not yet disclosed the airship's name. The three based in the U.S. are Wingfoot I, II and III.
"The Goodyear Blimp is a true icon that has captured the imaginations of consumers and enthusiasts in the United States and across the world for nearly one hundred years," Mike Rytokoski, vice president and chief marketing officer for Goodyear Europe, said.
"Its return to Europe has been long-awaited and is the perfect way to celebrate our return to international motorsport, our new media partnership with Eurosport and the cutting-edge additions to our product portfolio."
Goodyear introduced a blimp in Europe in 1972, and the airship – dubbed "Europa" — provided coverage of events such as the French Open and two British royal weddings before being retired in 1986, the company said.
The company later relaunched a blimp over Europe, but retired that one in 2012.