AKRON (Oct. 5) — Goodyear will launch a new airship next spring, replacing the Stars & Stripes, which crashed June 16 during bad weather in Pompano Beach, Fla.
The decision to replace the damaged Stars & Stripes will return Goodyear´s airship fleet in the U.S. to three. Goodyear has not decided whether to retain the Stars & Stripes name or christen the new blimp with a new name, a spokesman said during an unveiling at the Wingfoot Lake Airdock near Akron.
The new blimp actually has been in the planning stage for the past two years as a previously scheduled 2006 replacement for the Stars & Stripes, which has operated in Florida since 1992 and was rebuilt in 2000/2001 after it was damaged in an accident near Philadelphia.
Goodyear officials declined to say what the new airship will cost. A company video on its blimps put the value of an airship at $5 million.
While the new blimp is being built, Goodyear will station its Spirit of Goodyear airship — normally located at the Wingfoot Lake Airdock — in Florida.
Goodyear already has fabricated the new blimp´s neoprene-coated polyester envelope, which it displayed at the Oct. 4 unveiling. The airship´s other components will come mostly from the Stars & Stripes, which are being refurbished and rebuilt at the Akron-area airdock.