But as what happens with a retirement, a replacement is waiting in the wings.
Goodyear is finalizing construction a new Goodyear zeppelin, an all-new airship at the company's Wingfoot Lake Hangar in Suffield, Ohio.
The new blimp is equipped with advanced technology for Goodyear and its aerial coverage. “The biggest difference is this airship has a semi-rigid structure,” Grassian said.
Thus, the structure has a bit of a skeleton on the inside, unlike other Goodyear blimps. “It's all fly by wire. It's similar to what a helicopter might fly,” Grassian said. “The engines are vectored, and the landings and takeoffs will happen much like a helicopter does.”
It is a completely different feel for the pilot and crew. They will train on how to operate the airship.
Once in flight, Goodyear again will have three airships available, with “Spirit of America” in Carson, Calif., and “Spirit of Innovation” in Pompano Beach, Fla.
“Goodyear's been doing this for almost 60 years now, and the filming that we provide for the networks is almost always superior,” Grassian said.
He said Goodyear's “reputation really helps us” because networks know they can rely on the Akron-based tire manufacturer because they know it's going to be a quality show.
Goodyear blimps have been flying since 1925. Mickey Wittman, known as the father of sports aerial broadcasting for his work in developing the Goodyear blimp's role in sports television, recently was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
His resume includes broadcasting more than 2,500 live events, 30 World Series, 24 Super Bowls, five Olympics, 17 Orange Bowls, more than 200 PGA events, 22 years of Monday Night Football, 26 Major League Baseball All-Star games, eight Cotton Bowls, seven Rose Bowls, 28 Indianapolis 500s, 18 years of horse racing's Triple Crown events, 13 U.S. Open tennis tournaments, 20 heavyweight boxing championships, 300 college football games, 12 NCAA men's Final Four tournaments, 240 NASCAR races and hundreds of other sporting events and sports-related entertainment shows in North America and Europe.
The blimps are very much involved in the big sporting events and other large events around the country that use aerial coverage, Grassian said.