Goodbye, blimps

The Goodyear airship — Wingfoot One — at Oshkosh in July 2015. Patrick Collins

The Associated Press reports today that the end of an era is at hand for the Goodyear blimp.

But there’ll still be a big thing in the sky, it’s just not a blimp. It’s an “airship.”

What’s the difference?

“It’s a brand new design. It is a much larger airship. It’s a semi-rigid dirigible,” Goodyear’s Priscilla Tasker said of the new fleet of non-blimps replacing the company’s three aging U.S. airships.

In air-speak that means the new model has a fixed structure holding its big, gassy balloon in place. That’s unlike a blimp, which goes flat when the helium is removed.

“But the most impressive features are the glass cockpit that is all fly-by-wire, the most state-of-the-art avionics in airships today,” Tasker said.

Patrick Collins

I got a close-up look at the new blimp airship at Oshkosh last month, where it put on a bit of a show we don’t usually see from blimps airships.