The secret life of the Goodyear Blimp

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Personally, I think you have to be a pretty hard person not to be a little enchanted by the sight of a blimp or dirigible floating in the sky. In an age when air travel has become ho-hum and associated with annoyance and aggravation, blimps harken back to a more romantic era of flight, when breaking the bonds of earth was nothing short of astonishing.

So you could see why I jumped at a chance to do a story about the Goodyear blimp,  probably the best known aircraft in the skies of Southern California. After all,  who hasn’t seen the airship hovering over everything from a Dodgers game to the Academy Awards.  The airship is about as L.A. as palm trees, the beach, and Sunset Boulevard.

Other than knowing that it was filled with helium, I was pretty clueless about the Goodyear blimp before arriving at its Carson airfield for a visit and flight. How fast and high can it travel? How does flying it compare to an airplane or helicopter? And why does a company best known for making tires want to have anything to do with a blimp in the first place?

I got answers to those questions and others. Listen below: