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

Dealers Hope New President Will be Good for Business

Each month we ask members of our National Advisory Council (NAC) a question or questions on a current hot topic. Recently we asked, “What effect do you believe Donald Trump will have on your business as president?” Here are some of their responses.

Service Line says its Renegade Model TMB4000 manual parts washer is a cost-effective way to wash parts without solvents.
Product

Service Line Has Manual Parts Washer

Service Line Inc.’s Renegade TMB 4000 manual parts washer for general repair cleaning is designed to be a practical alternative to washing parts with solvents.

Bosch says the Robinair AC1234-6 machine has a liquid refrigerant flushing function that flushes A/C systems or individual components using liquid refrigerant instead of harsh chemicals.
Product

Robinair Offers 1234YF Recover, Recycle, Recharge Machine

The Robinair AC1234-6 was the first commercially available fully automatic R1234YF machine to meet the SAE’s requirement for recovering, recycling and recharging vehicle A/C systems with the new refrigerant, according to Bosch Automotive Service Solutions.

Tire Factory moved its dealer meeting out of Oregon and planned new activities for dealers, including a visit to Octane Raceway and a timed pit crew challenge. Tiffany Fox prepares to lower the jack once her teammates from Point S J&J Tire & Auto Service in Helena, Mont., finish their tire installations.
Article

Point S Rebranding Exceeds Expectations

Tire Factory Inc. members have rebranded the vast majority of their 206 stores to the Point S banner at a breakneck pace. And leaders of the Oregon-based cooperative are unveiling new programs with two big hopes: the momentum of current members continues, and more independent tire dealers join their network.

(From left to right) Dan King, Tire Warehouse Inc.; Gary Longerbeam, Monro Muffler Brake Inc.; and Shawn Denlein, Hankook Tire America Corp., enjoy the opening night reception.
Article

Hankook Gains Ground on its Goals

Continued growth in the U.S. and Canadian markets will be the key for Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. to reach its self-imposed goal of being the industry’s fifth largest tire company by 2020. This is the message about 80 key distributors and dealers of Hankook-branded tires were told at the company’s annual Partner’s Day Meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, last month.

Nexen's updated sponsorship of Manchester City now includes the double-winning Manchester City Women's Team.
News

Nexen Sees a Marketing Opportunity — on a Sleeve

Nexen Tire Co. Ltd. has created a first-of-its-kind partnership with an English Premier League club. The tire company will be the Official Sleeve Partner of the Manchester City Club, and the Nexen logo will appear on the club's uniform sleeve for all league games in the 2017-2018 season.

BKT’s ConExpo-Con/Agg booth featured its farm, ATV and UTV tires.
News

From Farm to UTV, BKT Made a Big Splash at ConExpo

The BKT USA Inc. booth at the recently completed 2017 ConExpo-Con/Agg in Las Vegas gave show attendees plenty to talk about. The company showcased not only its Earthmax farm tires, including the new Earthmax SR 35, but also its ATV/UTV tire lineup.

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!