Retail

Goodyear's 'Wingfoot One' takes flight

Posted on August 25, 2014
More than 2,000 people were on hand to watch and record the christening of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s newest blimp, the Wingfoot One. The event took place at the company's Wingfoot Lake Hangar in Suffield, Ohio. 

More than 2,000 people were on hand to watch and record the christening of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s newest blimp, the Wingfoot One. The event took place at the company's Wingfoot Lake Hangar in Suffield, Ohio. 

More than 2,000 people witnessed the christening of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s newest blimp, Wingfoot One, on Aug. 23, 2014. Richard Kramer, Goodyear chairman and chief executive officer, said the brand equity built by the airship helps to sell tires around the globe. “It is invaluable, irreplaceable and one of a kind.”

The blimp was christened by Robin Roberts, the award-winning co-anchor of ABC News’ “Good Morning America.” 

Roberts, also a long-time ESPN sportscaster and author, christened the new airship with the traditional breaking of a bottle against the ship’s gondola at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake Hangar in Suffield, Ohio. 

“This is incredibly meaningful to my family,” said Roberts. “My great grandfather moved his family from down south to Akron in 1918 to work for Goodyear. Never could he have imagined that one day one of his descendants would be asked to christen the blimp. I'm very honored.”

In addition to her great grandfather, Roberts’ grandfather, William Tolliver, also worked at Goodyear. Her late mother, Lucimarian Roberts, was born in Akron and graduated from East High School – a few blocks from Goodyear’s headquarters. Roberts also has a family connection to aviation through her late father, Lawrence E. Roberts, who served in the United States military for more than 30 years. Col. Roberts was a pilot with the U.S. Army Air Corps’ prestigious Tuskegee Airmen during World War II and later became a flight instructor at the Tuskegee Institute.

“This is incredibly meaningful to my family,” said Robin Roberts. "I am very honored."
“This is incredibly meaningful to my family,” said Robin Roberts. "I am very honored."

“The christening of Wingfoot One begins a new chapter for the Goodyear blimp, one of the world’s most recognizable and enduring brand icons,” said Kramer. “The new blimp renews our commitment to our airship program, builds on our legacy as the leading operator of airships and continues our leadership in providing superior aerial coverage of the most watched news, sports and entertainment events.”

Following the ceremony, Roberts boarded Wingfoot One for its ceremonial first flight. She joins a list of accomplished women who have christened Goodyear blimps, including astronaut Sally Ride (2000) and aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart (1929). 

Wingfoot One is the first of a new generation of airships manufactured by Germany’s ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik and assembled by a team of Zeppelin and Goodyear engineers over the past 12 months. It represents the first major structural design change of a Goodyear airship in nearly 70 years. The new blimp features advanced on-board avionics and flight control systems with the capability to travel at faster speeds and hover in place. The spacious passenger gondola will provide an enhanced in-flight experience with sweeping, panoramic windows.

Goodyear will introduce two additional blimps over the next four years as it phases out its two remaining GZ-20 models based in Pompano Beach, Fla., and Carson, Calif. Goodyear’s aerial coverage of marquee events in 2014 includes the NBA Finals, college football’s BCS Championship, the Kentucky Derby, 2014 FIFA World Cup and Daytona 500. 

Since 1917, Goodyear has built more than 300 lighter-than-air vehicles for public relations and defense applications, many built at the Wingfoot Lake facility.

For more information about Goodyear, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate

Related Topics: Airships, Blimp, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Wingfoot One

Comments ( 2 )
  • Lester

     | about 3 years ago

    Had the privilege to become a charter member of the Good Year Blimp Club in the late sixty's or early seventy. Was wondering what ever happened to the pilot Joe G. Hajcak?? Great public relations man for Good Year.

  • See all comments
More Stories
Article

You’ve Got Email: It’s Still the Way to Go to Market, Digitally Speaking

Remember email? Sometimes in the communication that is texting, tweeting or ‘Snapchatting,’ email is taken for granted. Facebook is great for sharing your thoughts and feelings to everyone you have friended, but email is more targeted, especially when used for business. You might say it is even more personal than Facebook because it is designed for interaction between two people or among a small group of people.

Drew Howlett from Falken says developing the right M/T tire is critical. “There are too many other competitive products on the market to have any weaknesses.”
Article

M/T Tires are Having a Moment: Consumer Demand Is Blurring the Lines

There are off-road warriors who never let their vehicles or mud-terrain tires touch pavement. There are others who like to occasionally play in the dirt, but need their fun vehicles to do double duty to go to work or school. And increasingly, there are drivers with lifted trucks and mean-looking tires who chase the aesthetic more than the lifestyle their vehicle portrays.

The sales staff at Ron's Tire & Motorsports is cross-trained to sell every product, from tires to bicycles to lawnmowers to barbecue grills.
News

Ron's Tire Sells Tires, And Much, Much More

Here’s the first hint that the newest tire store Ron Baxter and Ross Baxter are opening in Idaho Falls, Idaho, isn’t a typical retail store: the size. It’s 37,000 square feet.  

News

Tireco's Milestar Brand Launches Responsive Website

Tireco Inc.'s new mobile responsive website for Milestar tires is designed to showcase updated news, features and available tire sizes while serving as a hub for consumers to interact with the Milestar brand.

Kenda newcomer Chris Tolbert will help expand the Traction Dealer Network.
News

Chris Tolbert Joins Kenda USA

Tire industry veteran Chris Tolbert has joined Kenda USA's North American Automotive Business team as director of business development. His assignment: help accelerate Kenda’s sales and brand awareness in the PCR and LTR segments.

The new Gabriel training menu is divided into two sections, one for light vehicle training and one for heavy-duty training. Both sections include a series of training videos for dealers and installers to better sell and install Gabriel shocks and struts.
News

Gabriel Website Offers Training Resources

Ride Control LLC has launched its Gabriel website training menu with a series of training options as an expansion of its Answerman technical service offerings. This includes videos, technical bulletins, online catalogs and FAQs for both light and heavy-duty vehicles.

News

Hankook Suffers Sales Slowdown in 2Q 2017

Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. posted income before taxes of 3.1 trillion won on net sales of nearly 17.3 trillion won for the second period ended June 30, 2017. That compares to income of 2 trillion won on sales of 16.4 trillion won for the same period in fiscal 2016.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from MTD delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the tire industry and don't miss a thing!