The Goodyear Blimp is the stuff of American sporting event lore. For years, its many iterations have provided television viewers with beautiful bird's eye panoramas of the action from above. But despite advances that have made them among aviation's safest and most efficient aircraft, it's safe to say dirigibles/airships don't get nearly the respect they deserve:
Enter Wingfoot One, Goodyear's new semi-rigid airship based in Suffield Township, Ohio. It measures it at a length of 75 meters and is basically the Daft Punk of dirigibles: harder, better, faster, and stronger.
Despite being billed as the newest model of the famous Goodyear Blimp, calling it that could get you in trouble with the semantics police. Its semi-rigid structure places it somewhere between "blimp" (non-rigid) and the genericized term "zeppelin" (fully rigid). Still, a Goodyear spokesman has made it clear that the term "Goodyear Blimp" is so universally recognized that they're sticking to it.
"Goodyear Semi-Rigid Airship" doesn't have quite the same ring.
As noted by Danielle Venton at Wired, Wingfoot One embodies the sorts of technological innovations airship aficionados have salivated over for years. Its three engines are positioned in a way so that Wingfoot One can mimic helicopter flight. Its cargo-carrying capabilities could be used to deliver aid to remote areas. Advances in semi-rigid construction could mean bigger and better airships in the future.
Check out the video below (via Wired) to learn about how Wingfoot One operates.
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Photo credit: Goodyear