Blimp overnights in Walterboro | News | The Press and Standard

by | August 22, 2016 12:00 pm

Last Updated: August 21, 2016 at 9:49 am

TOUCHING DOWN. Above, Goodyear pilot Andrew Rose, left, conducts his instrument check after touching down at the airport while Lars Pentezk, a pilot from ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik, looks on. In the bottom photo, Goodyear’s Wingfoot One dwarfs some of the members of the ground crew as they prepare the moor the aircraft for the night at the Lowcountry Regional Airport. Photos by GEORGE SALSBERRY

Wingfoot One glided gracefully into Walterboro the afternoon of Aug.10.

Like most Florida-bound travelers, an overnight stop in Walterboro marked the half-way point in its journey. But while most of the travelers arrived after dealing with I-95 traffic, Wingfoot One flew above the congestion.

Wingfoot One is the new generation of Goodyear’s most recognizable public relations’ tool, the Goodyear Blimp.

Wingfoot One is the first of three new blimps being constructed in a partnership between Goodyear and ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik. The second one is currently under construction in Akron, Ohio.

Wingfoot One was dedicated on March 14, 2014 in Akron and, after months of flight training, was stationed at Goodyear’s blimp base in gs.blimp.arrival.p.8-18Pompano Beach, Fla.

The newest airship is 264 feet long, 54 feet longer than the GZ 20A model it replaces.

The construction contains aluminum and carbon fiber trusses, a design element that give the blimp more maneuverability. The old blimp had two 210 horsepower engines built onto the sides of its gondola.

The trusses in the new airship enable the engines, 200 horsepower, to be moved higher onto the blimp’s envelope. A third engine was also installed on the tail of the blimp.

The combination of engines allows the blimp to hover in place and increased the maximum speed from 50 miles per hour to 73 miles per hour.

For the past month, Wingfoot One and the flight staff based in Florida, were in Ohio, where a new aerial LED sign was being installed.

Returning to the home base was a four-day journey, so Wingfoot One spent the night in Virginia before making its way to Walterboro.

While a pilot and co-pilot flew the blimp, the rest of the 22 members of the flight crew moved south in a caravan of vehicles, including a specially designed truck that is quickly transformed into a mooring tower for the blimp.

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