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Hagerty Employee

The Zeppelin Connection: In the early 1900s, the need for speed linked airships and automobiles | Hagerty Media

Airships and automobiles. What could they possibly have in common? Aside from the occasional sighting of the Goodyear blimp floating above the Indy 500, there may not be much to link cars and dirigibles in current times, but step back to their beginnings and the two technologies were closely aligned.

Correction. Goodyear still assembles their own airships with a partnership with the Zeppelin Corp.

Zeppelin designs and mfgs the parts but the Goodyear crews build the ships with direction of Zeppelin supervision. The Goodyear ships were built in Suffield Ohio just south east of Akron Ohio at the Wingfoot lake airship hanger.

I have been lucky to have been a visitor to the hanger during the building of the new ships and even seen 2 of them together which is a rare sight.

I have also been lucky to fly in several blimps over the years. The Goodyear craft outside the Spirit of Akron were old WW2 designs that were fly by cable and muscle. Today’s fly by wire is amazing as they can do things the old blimps never could do.

The GZ 20 never really got bigger. The TV systems got smaller. The new ships were just modified Zeppelin designs and they are larger just because they are. They can carry more people and even have a bathroom.