AKRON—Goodyear's newest airship will be christened Wingfoot One, the name selected by popular vote from among 10 names picked earlier by a panel of Goodyear judges.
In all, Goodyear received nearly 15,000 suggestions of the name for the new airship, which replaced the Spirit of Goodyear.
Akron resident Charlotte White submitted the name Wingfoot One. She said she never has had a blimp ride in the 76 years she's lived in Akron. Her stepfather worked for and retired from Goodyear.
“I'm just thrilled to win the contest,” she said. “I never thought it could happen. I can't wait to ride it.”
White will receive a day of activities with the airship. The other nine finalists who submitted names will receive a set of Goodyear tires.
Wingfoot One was favored by nearly 35 percent of the public vote, Goodyear said.
Goodyear's use of the Wingfoot trademark dates back to 1901, when the company first used it in advertising to promote the launch of its new Straight Side tire. Inspired by a statue of the Roman god Mercury in his home, Goodyear co-founder Frank Seiberling conceived of the idea of using the Wingfoot trade mark as a symbol of the company's global ambitions.
“The Wingfoot symbol has played a prominent role in defining the Goodyear brand for more than a century,” said Paul Fitzhenry, senior vice president, global communications. “The name Wingfoot One makes an ideal connection between our trusted, global brand and our iconic airships.”
Wingfoot One is a semi-rigid, Zeppelin model LZ N07-101 assembled at Goodyear's Wingfoot Lake airship hangar near Suffield, Ohio, southeast of Akron. The craft, the first semi-rigid airship to be built in the 95-year history of the Wingfoot Lake hangar, is larger, faster and more maneuverable than its predecessor, Goodyear said.
The new blimp is in the final stages of flight testing and officially will be christened in a ceremony to be held in August, Goodyear said. After the christening, Wingfoot One will travel the U.S. visiting the country's major sporting, news and entertainment events.
Goodyear has built more than 300 lighter-than-air vehicles, including two large rigid airships in the nearly 80 years since the first blimp took flight. The new airship model replaces the previous “GZ-20A” model that flew for 45 years.