AKRON, Ohio -- To Goodyear, a blimp is a blimp, even if it's not a blimp.
For decades, the tire giant has been flying its signature airships around the United States, mostly over sporting events, and has become one of the most recognizable icons in the world.
But Goodyear's current fleet of three blimps -- based out of Akron, Pompano Beach, Fla., and Carson, Calif. -- is aging, and the company announced in 2011 that it had decided to replace the airships with zeppelins, which are longer, faster, quieter, and more maneuverable than blimps.
The state-of-the-art airships were developed by Friedrichshafen, Germany's Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik (ZLT), a company with a very long and storied past. For starters, it built the Hindenburg, though it has since substituted non-flammable helium for the hydrogen that exploded in that ship's very famous 1937 crash. … Read more