Goodyear GZ-20

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GZ-20
Goodyear Blimp - Spirit of Innovation.jpg
Spirit of Innovation
Role blimp (non-rigid airship)
National origin United States
Manufacturer Goodyear Aerospace
Introduction 1969
Retired 2017
Status Retired
Primary user Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
Number built 6

The Goodyear GZ-20 was a blimp (non-rigid airship) class introduced in 1969 in the United States by Goodyear as its signature promotional aircraft, the Goodyear Blimp. The design is a development of the GZ-19 class, featuring a larger envelope to carry the "Super-Skytacular" night sign and more powerful engines. The GZ-20s were an active member of Goodyear's airship fleet until 2017.

Service[edit]

The GZ-20 was introduced as part of a US$4 million expansion program by Goodyear in 1968 that included the construction of a new GZ-19 Florida based airship (Mayflower N1A), replacement of the California based GZ-19 with a GZ-20 (Columbia N4A), adding a third airship to the fleet (GZ-20 America N3A) and constructing a new airship base at Spring, Texas as home to the new blimp.

In 1972, a third GZ-20 was built to be the first Goodyear Blimp stationed outside the United States. Christened Europa N2A. her structural elements were freighted from the Goodyear factory in Akron Ohio to the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Cardington, Bedfordshire, England on an Aero Spacelines Mini Guppy to be erected there but based at a new facility near Rome.

In 1978, the GZ-19 class was discontinued after the loss of Mayflower N38A. It was replaced by the GZ-20 Mayflower N3A.

As of 2017, All three of Goodyear's GZ-20As have been decommissioned.

The blimp received a Guinness World Record for the longest continuous operated airship with fourteen years of service.[citation needed]

Goodyear Airship Operations started production of Zeppelin NT semi-rigid airships beginning in 2013 at the cost of approximately US$21 million per airship. Goodyear's first Zeppelin NT first took flight on March 17, 2014.[1]

After 14 years in the skies, on February 23, 2014, Spirit of Goodyear was retired in Pompano Beach after the 2014 Daytona 500.[2] The Spirit of Goodyear's gondola was donated to the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. [3]

On August 10, 2015, the California-based GZ-20, the Spirit of America, was decommissioned after 13 years of operation. In September 2015, Spirit of Innovation, the world's only remaining active GZ-20, was relocated to Carson, California[4] from it's former base in Pompano Beach, Florida. Spirit of America's gondola was donated to the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California.[5]

On March 14, 2017, "Spirit of Innovation" was retired and dismantled at Goodyear's base in Carson, California. The Spirit of Innovation's gondola will be put on permanent display at Goodyear's Wingfoot Lake Airship Base in Suffield, Ohio.[6] Wingfoot Two, Goodyear's newest Zeppelin NT, will take over operations in California in fall of 2017. [7]

Specifications (Europa)[edit]

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976–77[8]

General characteristics

  • Crew: One pilot
  • Capacity: 6 passengers
  • Length: 192 ft 6 in (58.67 m)
  • Diameter: 45 ft 11 in (14.00 m)
  • Width: 50 ft 0 in (15.24 m)
  • Height: 59 ft 6 in (18.14 m)
  • Volume: 202,700 ft3 (5,380 m3)
  • Empty weight: 9,375 lb (4,252 kg)
  • Gross weight: 12,840 lb (5,824 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Continental IO-360-D, 210 hp (157 kW) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 50 mph (80 km/h)
  • Endurance: 23 hours
  • Service ceiling: 7,500 ft (2,285 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,400 ft/min (12.2 m/s)

References[edit]

Notes
Bibliography
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. p. 425. 
  • Taylor, John W. R (1976). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976–77. London: Jane's Yearbooks. ISBN 0 354 00538 3. 
  • Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1977-78. London: Jane's Yearbooks. 1977. p. 632.