Loral GZ-22

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Role non-rigid airship
National origin United States
Manufacturer Loral
Designer Goodyear
First flight 1989
Primary user Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
Number built 1

The Loral GZ-22 (also known as the Goodyear GZ-22) was a non-rigid airship first flown in 1989 and operated by Goodyear as its signature promotional aircraft, registered N4A and named Spirit of Akron.[1]

Design and development[edit]

Originally built for the purpose of demonstrating the modern military capability of airships to the US Navy, the GZ-22 was originally designed by Goodyear but built by Loral after Goodyear withdrew from airship manufacturing.[1] The GZ-22 had a steel framed and composite skinned gondola with a neoprene-impregnated polyester 2-ply envelope filled with helium.[1] At its 1987 rollout the 205-foot 6-inch long airship was the longest in service.[2] The GZ-22 Type Certificate was issued on 31 August 1989.[3]

On 28 October 1999 the Spirit of Akron crashed at Suffield Township, Ohio, when it suddenly entered an uncontrolled left turn and began descending. The pilot and technician on board received only minor injuries when the airship hit trees. The NTSB report identified improperly hardened metal splines on the control actuators had sheared, causing loss of control and identified the probable cause as being failure by the "flight control system manufacturer to meet design (hardness) specifications". [4]


Data from [1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 10 passengers
  • Length: 205 ft 6 in (62.64 m)
  • Width: 47 ft 0 in (14.33 m)
  • Height: 60 ft 2 in (18.34 m)
  • Volume: 247,800 ft3 (7,017 m3)
  • Gross weight: 15,000 lb (6804 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Allison 250-B17C turboprops, 420 hp (312.2 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 65 mph (105 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 10,000 ft (3050 m)


  1. ^ a b c d Taylor 1996, p. 548
  2. ^ "Blimp Arbourne". Air Progress. December 1987. 
  3. ^ "Type Certificate Data Sheet No.AS1GL Lockheed Martin (Loral) GZ-22" (PDF). Federal Aviation Authority. 1 October 1997. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  4. ^ "Aircraft: Loral Corp. GZ-22, registration: N4A". National Transportation Safety Board. 17 May 2001. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1996). Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory. London, England: Brassey's. ISBN 1-85753-198-1.