The Spirit of America was christened September 5, 2002 during a ceremony in Akron, Ohio. The name of the ship was chosen as a tribute to the patriotic spirit of the United States. Performing the christening was Mrs. Letitia Driscoll, mother of NYPD Officer Stephen Driscoll, who was killed in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept.11, 2001.
In addition to the four pilots, the Spirit of America operation has a crew of 16 including aircraft mechanics, radio and television technicians, riggers, heavy-duty maintenance mechanics, ground handlers, and a public relations manager. Three support vehicles complement the Spirit of America's operations, including an 18-wheel tractor-trailer mobile maintenance vehicle, a 22- person MCI bus, and a nine-passenger van.
The Spirit of America follows a line of California based Goodyear blimps (Columbia 1968-92 and Eagle 1992-2002) that have appeared in dozens of movies and television shows, including: The Apprentice, The Bachelor, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Cars, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Discovery's Really Big Things.
The Spirit of America is based in Carson, California between Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles.