Our Goodyear Blimp Experience from the Ground

Who wants to ride the blimp? I do! If you live in or near the South Bay, you’ve seen the Goodyear Blimp up in the air one too many times. Or if you’re in the area, you’ve probably seen it land or take off from its huge airport base off the 405 freeway. And every time you see it, you just wonder, when will I get to ride it?

Our Moms Club group was lucky enough to get up close and see it take off through one of our playdates. With about 20 moms plus our kids, we were ushered from the observation deck to the landing pad by two nice lady pilots of the blimp for a little tour.


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We had to stay within a certain perimeter since it’s dangerous to be too close to the cockpit as it keeps moving. Lots of photo opportunities while we ask questions about the blimp.

Only one pilot was needed to fly the blimp, but there were about 25 pilots and crews at this facility needed for landing and take off. Didn’t realize it needed that much manpower. You can be an airplane pilot or a hot air balloon pilot to fly the blimp.

There are no toilets on this particular blimp so when they fly their 12-hour flights, let’s say to San Francisco for a sporting event and back, they just don’t drink water at all, prior to leaving and during the flight.

But they will be changing this 9-year-old blimp into a bigger one by next year that would have its own toilet. Yey, no more adult diapers (we assumed they used that).

There are actually 3 Good Year Blimps in the US. One in Florida, one in Ohio, and this one, in Carson, CA. The blimp is made of polyester fabric coated with neoprene rubber. They look shiny and metallic from a distance, but they are actually soft and flexible. Their lifespan is about 12 years. They cut a portion of the fabric to have it tested annually to know if things are still okay.

A lot of people wanted to know if we got to ride the blimp. Unfortunately, rides on the Goodyear blimps are available at the invitation of the company only. Most of the lucky riders are Goodyear customers like Toyota Corporation, winners of local charity auctions, local dignitaries, or members of the press.

In spite of not being able to ride the Good Year Blimp, we’re very happy to have gotten that close, learn some facts, and observe the blimp take off. Once it took off, and was beyond a 45 degree angle. It was actually a relief not to be riding it. Ha!

 

The blimp was scheduled to fly at 1 PM that day, but we had to wait over an hour or two since it’s dependent on the wind. So, yes, just like every other aircraft, the flight was delayed and the kids got antsy. But we got them entertained long enough to see the blimp take off and it was an amazing experience. I look forward to seeing it land next time. Is it also at a very steep 45-degree angle? We’ll find out next time!


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