Blimp Stories

Share Your Blimp Memory

Perhaps you've been on the blimp or merely wish to relate a story of a "close encounter" with one of our famous airships. Click here to share your blimp memory!

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The Goodyear blimp was in Portland OR., July 1962. My Dad was a tire buyer for Hyster Co. and was invited by Goodyear to come out to the Portland airport to ride their blimp. It was late afternoon and my twin brother and I were 14 and we rode one trip and Mom and Dad went next with other riders. I remember watching the ground crew handling landing lines and a rail on the cabin as passengers boarded and stepped down in a grassy field. I still have 3 photos my Mom took at the time plus my original Goodyear Blimp Club card sign by pilot Dean R. Mealy. It's a good family memory. Jim.

Jim Kutcher - MiltonFreewater, Oregon

My story begins when I was just a little girl growing up in Miami, Florida in the 1960's.

My mother always liked to plan interesting and exciting outings for me and my sister. At that time, there was a Goodyear Airship located on Watson Island which is east of Downtown Miami.

They offered rides at that time and my mother bought us each a ticket to take a most unforgettable that I remember to this day.

I remember holding the ticket in my hand waiting for the crew who were holding the Airship by ropes in order to get the vessel ready for boarding.

(At that time and at that location, there was no hanger for the Airship and everything was handled out in the open by a crew who wore Goodyear overalls.) So, up, up and away we went!

I remember watching the Captain in what I would describe as a wheelchair with big wheels while he explained how he steered the ship and how the ship could both ascend and descend.

I think about that ride everytime I see the Goodyear Airship in the skies of Southeast Florida.

It reminds me of the many wonderful things that my mother did for me and of the many memories that I hold dear to my heart.

Thank you Goodyear for making one of those memories possible for me.

Andrea - Ft. Lauderdale, FL

When I was younger got to go to the hanger in Suffield Ohio. I grew up up Hartiville and love the blimps. I really enjoyed watching it land and the people trying to pull it down. The best was around Christmas they would put santa and his reindeer on the side and we knew Santa was near. When I think of Goodyear and the blimp, I think of home. I love Goodyear.

Annette - Martinsburg, WV

As a child (I) remember going to the Blimp Goodyear Hanger for Circus's, and being part of the Goodyear Family of workers both in the factory, the lampblack, and the office, an uncle. Many family members retired from THE place to work in Akron. Years later, my own family traveled to Houston, Tx, and (I) still recall the day the Blimp rode over the parking lot of the apartment complex. We ran outside squealing about the blimp so loud others came out to see the rare site. (I) was so homesick then, that my husband told me(I)should hitch a ride home with the blimp.

Many things have happened, and (I) came home to live back in Akron after ten years. Today (I) recognize the sound of the Blimp as it hovers over the top of my house.(I) smile when (I) hear it coming and always go outside to watch it. Since then, alot of family members have passed,(I)joke that the Blimp haunts me. Cause it hovers when (I) need it to the most. To me its just one thing that Akronites take for granted, since that is the one of the biggest things you miss when leaving Akron.

B - Akron, OH

During the late 1940's in Yuma, Arizona my father Frank Hobart was associated with the Goodyear Service Store in Yuma.

A Blimp came to Yuma I think it was the Columbia but could be wrong. My Dad was given a chance to ride on the Blimp. He came home and told us abut the trip. I remember that I was very mad at him for not taking me. I was probably 11 or 12 at the time.

Have looked at the blimps ever since and think of the time Dad had his ride and I did not.

Bill - Brea, CA

Seeing the Goodyear blimp is like bumping into an old friend. I almost forgot about the child like sense of wonder it creates. I live in the Los Angeles area, and get to see the blimp occasionally. Recently, my five year old son got to see it for the first time. We were exiting a mall...and there it was, hovering over the parking lot. My son was awe struck. He asked..."Is that a hot air balloon?" well as how it flew, where the pilots sit, and about 1000 other questions. We followed the blimp in our car for as long as possible. As it flew out of sight, my son remembered seeing a "Hotwheels" toy blimp just days before. He begged me to take him to the store and buy it. How could I refuse? This took me back to my own childhood. I once had a model kit of the blimp that had a lighted sign.

A few days later, we were on a car trip-which I knew would take us past the blimp's mooring station in Carson, CA. I crossed my fingers and hoped the blimp would be there. Sure enough, there she was...big, blue, and beautiful. My son was thrilled. He wanted to stop and see it. We didn't have time, but I assured him we'd see it again on the way home. Well, on the return trip, the blimp was still there, but my son was fast asleep. As soon as he woke up at home, he said "Daddy, where's the blimp?" He was quite disappointed that he missed it. We'll have to make a special trip soon to visit our friend, the Goodyear blimp. Thanks for the memories!

Brian - Los Angeles, CA

I went for a ride in the blimp in 1980. It was my first ride in any aircraft ever. I was 5 years old. It was a prelude to a great career. I am now the Chief Pilot for a U.S. Corporation. I still have vivid memories of getting to jump on and flying over that huge hangar in Spring.

Chad - Conroe, TX

My grandfather, Tom Robinette (may he rest in peace) was involved in the production of the first blimp. I still have fond memories of going for a ride on it with him back in 1966 - I was 3 years old. I sat on his lap and looked down at all the sights below. To this day when I see one of the air ships all the memories come back and put a smile on my face!

Cindy - El Cajon, CA

I am always so proud to say that I live in the city where the Goodyear Blimps have been flying for years. Our residents have been so fortunate to be able to look to the skies on almost any nice day and see these beautiful and graceful air ships floating above.

I couldn't believe it! After all these years, I was going to do something i'd waited for since i was a young girl! Through the generosity of Goodyear, what a great time!

This truly was a highlight moment in our lives. Something else also sticks in my mind. Following 9-11, the skies were silent and mysteriously still. A time I'll always remember. No planes, no blimp anymore. It saddened me to a point of tears not to see the blimp out flying anymore.

When the new blimp was christened, i was there with tears of joy streaming down my cheeks.

We're all so lucky to have these airships in our Akron area. Many older persons that I take care of have worked at Goodyear. Of course, I love their stories and listen very attentively, like a small child listening to their favorite story. I love the Goodyear story and especially love these great airships! My spirit will always be on the wings of Goodyear. Thanks for so many wonderful years of gracing our skies and our imaginations...

Cindy - Akron, OH

remember back when I was a child growing up about 8-10 years of age I had the chance of a lifetime which was to be able to take a ride in the Goodyear blimp. My grandfather had purchased four new tires for his vehicle so his name went into a drawing for several people to take a ride in the famous Goodyear blimp. My grandfathers name was drawn and he chose my grandmother, father, mother, uncle and aunt along with myself to take a ride in the blimp. I was very nervous and terrified of heights so it was a big step for me to get into the blimps passenger compartment knowing we would soon be sky high over the city. Once we were in the air and stable I remember the pilot asking me if I would like to fly the airship and of course I said yes. I remember there being a steering wheel on the side of the pilots chair and a set of controls in front of him. The pilot allowed me to control the steering wheel on the side of the chair which I believe allowed us to move up and down. My mother took a picture of me flying the Goodyear blimp which is now in a photo scrapbook. My grandfather passed away a couple years later so this memory is special to me because it's one of the few I remember including my grandfather. I was on my way home from work the other day and happened to look up in the sky and there it was, the Goodyear blimp. To this day everytime I see the Goodyear blimp I remember the day I got to fly it and the memory of it makes me smile.

Hopefully one day I'll have the chance to bring my wife and daughter up for a ride in the GoodYear blimp and pass down the amazing memory!!!

David - Indianapolis, IN

For years as a kid I watched the Goodyear Blimp Spirit of Akron when it was in town for Ohio State football games. I always marveled at the blimp and dreamt of flying on it someday.... that wish came true for me when I was 6 years old. It was an experience I will never forget, taking off above Wingfoot Lake, flying over the Akron airdock, over the Goodyear Headquarters, and elsewhere in Akron.

The experience will always have a special place in my heart and is the driving force as to why I am an aviation major in college now, hopefully someday flying for Goodyear.

David - Grove City, OH

Every year we vacation in Boca Raton, Florida. My fellow Vietnam Veteran and myself returned back to the world after nearly a tour and a half. Once we returned we met and married roommates in 1972 and 1973. My friend worked for Rinkers Cement near Boca and on our annual vacation Feb. 2007 he asked us if we would like to go on the Goodyear Blimp. That was a question that did not need asking because of course we wanted to go.

Well that February four of us went for a ride and I must say it was one of the most enjoyable and exciting things I have ever done in my life. We talked about it for the rest of our vacation. We then returned to Minnesota and in March he called us and told us he had a spot on his liver.

To make a long and sad story short he passed away the following August 3 days after his 30th birthday. We spent his last afternoon discussing the army, Vietnam, and life in general but the highlight of our discussion was still the ride on the Goodyear blimp. I would like to thank Goodyear, the professional Blimp crew and all involved for the beautiful lasting memories of my best friend.

David - Hoyt Lakes, MN

On Thursday Feb 28, 2008, the family was at Hartville Kitchen and Market Place. When we were leaving someone spotted the Spirit of Goodyear passing close by. We were able to take several really good pictures of the Blimp.

As we left we turned onto Rt 43 North and saw the Blimp again, and it appeared to be coming down somewhere. Then on the left side of the road we saw a sign that read "Blimp Base 1". We turned down the road and were treated to a sight that none of us will ever forget.

The blimp was practicing take offs and landings, and we were honored to witness the sight. We stayed for about 45 mins and took several hundred pictures and a few videos. Then the remarkable happened. After touching down the pilot made a sharp turn to the right and then turned around and came back at us in a straight line. He touched down briefly and raised just enough to clear the fence and went directly over our heads. EVERYONE CHEERED with delight. We would like to thank Goodyear and the Pilot for a wonderful experience.

David and family - Carlisle, PA

When I was 4 years old and living in La Miranda,(Mirada,)CA., we would regularly see the blimp and I loved it, so my parents took me to see it land. Once it landed and the crew went inside the office, I decide I want to meet them. So I go in and met Capt. Richard Esh who wrote me a note that said "Never give up,you can do anything in life" and then signed it. Ever since that I've kept that in mind. Thank You!!!

Don - Sun Prairie, WI

I rode on the Columbia in 1973 - I was 8 yrs old. It was a complete surprise; my Mom and Dad pulled me out of school and I had no idea what for, or where we were going.

We pulled up to the airfield in Carson City, and at first I thought we had just come to watch the blimp take off and land. But, to my shock and amazement, a ground crew member came up to us and said, "time to board." As the crewman lifted me into the gondola, I banged my shin against the hand rail and it hurt really bad. I quickly forgot about the pain though as I took my seat in the rear of the cabin next to the window. During takeoff I was amazed by the noise, vibration, and steep climb of the airship - she seemed to be pointing straight up into the air. Once we leveled off, I enjoyed the view of Long Beach harbor and the surrounding area. My grandfather was along for the ride as well and got to sit with the chief pilot, Capt. Tom Matus. The next day back at school, none of my classmates believed me when I told them I had a ride in the Goodyear blimp.

Donald - Ballwin, MO

When I was in my teens (1920's I Lived in Goodyear Heights).

When the Dirigibles Akron and Macon were making their trial runs we could go outside our house and watch these large beautiful dirigibles glide over our house on their way back to their Akron hangers.

We took many guests out to see the hangers, dirigibles and Goodyear blimps.

Those were exciting times.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story.

Dorothy - Geneva, OH

It seems as long as I can remember the Goodyear blimp has been in my life. One of my earliest memories is of my mother and I out in our yard, when the blimp came over head, did a graceful 180 deg. turn and flew off. I was about 2. In the summer of 1967 we went to Cape Cod for 2 weeks and so did one of the blimps. I believe there were only 2 back then, the Columbia and the America. I'm not sure which was there, but it sure did make for a great vacation for me. Growing up in West Hartford, Ct. we got to see the blimp for a week or so about every other year when they would come to cover the GHO golf tournament. I would get so excited when I would hear that distinctive drone, and me and all of my friends would chase it all over, including at night when they lit up the lights. What an awesome sight it was! I have some great photos from over the years, even one of the Mayflower. I'm now almost 50, but I still get a kick out of seeing them. Not so much for any of the other blimps, only the Goodyears can bring on those memories and feelings I had as a kid.

Ed - Plantsville, CT

Getting to ride in the Goodyear Blimp is one of my most exciting events of my life. "I STILL HAVE MY MEMBERSHIP CARD THAT SAYS, YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE BLIMP CLUB!"

When I was sixteen my Aunt and Uncle took me to Miami, Florida with them on a vacation from York, Pennsylvania.

One morning my Uncle Henry said, today we are going to ride on the Goodyear Blimp! My Uncle was always kidding me so I really didn't believe him, but in a little while there we were and there was the Goodyear Blimp!

I was so very excited to say the least.

My Uncle and I were the only two passenager on the Blimp. All of a sudden up we went all over Miami and I not only saw Miami but the most beautiful different colored blue water I've ever seen.

We went out over the ocean and we went everywhere. The pilot explained where we were and what we were seeing. He was a wonderful guide and a great pilot because we landed safely!

I was never once scared, I was too excited to be scared. I was one of the lucky people that got to ride on a Goodyear Blimp. I still tell everyone all about it after all of these years.

Thank You Goodyear for the ride of a lifetime!

Georgia - Satellite Beach, FL

Years ago my husband I were driving north on US RT 127 in northern Ohio and saw a blimp being anchored. A storm had blown up and the ground crew was trying to tie down the ship. What a sight! They were in the middle of a farmer's soybean field. I know one thing--if you think the blimp is big looking at it up in the air you should see one right beside the road.

J.O. - Greenville, OH

In 93 I was crossing the desert in CA. on 18 and I saw what was a real strange sight, one of the Goodyear blimps at about 1000 feet fighting a headwind, it looked like a bucking bronco.

Jim - New Orleans, LA

I remember flying down to Florida from boarding school in 1967. My father (and his new second wife) met me at Miami airport. I was 13 at that time. They took me around the city, and before the end of the afternoon, we were riding on the Goodyear blimp! Just one ride, and I was hooked for life.

John - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Teaching at Goodyear Middle School I have grown fond of the Blimp. My class consists of 10 students with multiple disabilities and the adults that work with us.

My students can hear the blimp when it is near and will ask if they can go look for it. I almost always say yes. The blimp is a symbol of hope and pride to many but especially to us. Watching it soar upon the air represents the heights we can reach if we can make the commitment to learning. I always joke with them that one day I will take them on a blimp ride just so they can see how beautiful it is at the top.

The climb may be hard but the end result is always worth the effort. Many of my students have begun that climb and in the three years I have them I hope they will see the beauty that lies before them. In the next few years we will lose our school and become a part of East High School. Even though we may no longer be the Goodyear Wingfoots, I hope that my students never forget how high they can soar if they only dare to achieve.

John - Akron, OH

I am a private pilot. On Saturday September 7, 2002 I was flying a Cessna 172 over Knox County on a sightseeing trip for a co-worker and his 5 year old daughter. We had just passed over Fredericktown, Ohio to view their Tomato Show celebration.

Then turning south to return to Knox County Airport (4i3) for landing we saw four (4) Goodyear Blimps in formation flying south. I believe they were enroute to Columbus, Ohio from the Goodyear facility near Akron, possibly to the OSU game at Ohio Stadium. We took some pictures from the air, and then giving the formation plenty of room, proceeded to Knox County Airport and landed.

After landing, the four (4) ship formation flew directly over the airport and we took more pictures of the formation from the ground.

I consider myself very fortunate to have witnessed this rare event from both the air and the ground and will treasure the memory always.

John - Mount Vernon, OH

On July 7,2008, the Goodyear Blimp flew over a baseball game in Williamsport, Pa. This game was an All Star Tournament for Minor League Baseball, ages 8 & 9. The tournament was held at the Original Little League Ball Stadium in Williamsport. The Little League World Series is held in South Williamsport. Next year most of these boys will be playing Little League. They had to stop the game for a few moments because the boys were all looking up., then continued. After the game, my grandson, who was the catcher at the time, said to me, "Gram, did you see the blimp, It was like playing at the Little League World Series & the blimp flies around." He felt so important. We go to the Little League games every year. We spend time watching the games and also collecting & trading pins. He will be 10 years old in August and is looking foward to going to the ball games.

Kathleen - Jersey Shore, PA

When I was about 3 years old (almost 33 now), my mother and I took a ride on the old Goodyear blimp.

It was gray at the time, and was the captain was John Crayton.I have pictures in my scrap book and an official Goodyear membership card.I remember the wind, the noise, and all of the ground crew scrambling around like clockwork.

I was able to sit on Mr.Crayton's lap and control the blimp with the large wheel between the seats.With my adrenaline and imagination in full gear.....I fell asleep.I don't remember getting off, but I have the pictures and remember the experience.

I now have a 18 month old son and a daughter on the way...if only they could experience this adventure!

Kevin - Apple Valley, CA

I was living in Newark, OH {near Columbus, OH} and I had only seen the Blimp on TV, that was until a OSU foot ball game. The game was over and I was out in the yard doing some picking up.

I heard this strange sound and could not figure out what it was. That was until this huge ship flew over. I ran into the house and had all of my family come out to see it. We watched until it turned north heading home to Akron.

I did not see it again until 2002 when I moved to the Akron/Canton area. I now get to see it a few times a week, but that does not mean that I am not less impressed. I love the site of a blimp "just hanging in the air".

My new goal is to see these ships being put in or taken out of the hanger. I have even parked near the hanger for hours and hoped to see this, maybe someday I will get lucky.

Kevin - Uniontown, OH

As a lifelong resident of Akron I love seeing the blimps fly.

I remember a time when we didn't have any blimps except for special occasions as they were based in Florida, California, and Texas. I always looked forward to seeing the blimps overhead and also at the Airdock at Akron Airport and now at Wingfoot Lake.

I have been fortunate to see three christenings of blimps and will attend more when the time comes.

Its a feeling of awe to see the hanger doors open and see the blimp roll out and take off. Its the same feeling to see it land and roll back in and close doors too.

Just to watch the crews ready the blimp to take off or land is something else as well.

Mark - Akron, OH

I would like to thank you. I live in the flight path between the New Smyrna Beach airport, where the blimp is stowed, and Daytona International Speedway. My poor dog Katie Grace, a Jack Russell mix, thinks we are being invaded every time you guys fly over. She can't decide whether to run from the blimp, or try to protect us from the "monster". We tease her sometimes by telling her to "get it", so she will bark insanely until the blimp monster is out of her air space. She then struts around the yard, quite satisfied with herself that SHE was able to chase away such a large invader. Thanks again for the belly-busting laughs.

Meg - New Smyrna Beach, FL

A few years ago, my parents had the opportunity to ride the blimp and fortunately, I got to tag along. They both acted like little kids, too excited to contain themselves. It was a real treat getting to float above the South Bay and see the sites from a new perspective. I really appreciated our pilot's being very personable with us, as well as being informative about the operations of the blimp. It's a great and very special memory.

PJ - Torrance, CA

47 years ago, when The Goodyear Blimp landed on Watson Island on Miami Beach, my father was a City of Miami Policeman and going to school at night to be a lawyer.

One day, our family was driving by the blimp, and my Dad said that when he passed the American Bar, he would take his three daughters on the blimp. Rides were then $5.00 a person-a hefty price for our family at that time. My Dad passed the Bar and true to his word, he took myself and my two older sisters. My Mom didn't go. I asked her why several years ago, and her answer was that they couldn't afford for all five of us to go, so she stayed behind.

My Dad, a WWII vet is turning 85 this June. He later earned his pilot's license and just recently retired after practicing law for 45 years. My Mom will be 84 this year. Of all my childhood memories in South Florida, there is no question that our amazing flight in the Goodyear Blimp was the best one of all.

I just wish my Mom could have been there! It is an experience that many people can boast about!

Ruth - Miami, FL

My close friend who passed away three years ago told me of his experience's as a photographer, one was going in a Goodyear Blimp over Catalina Island. He was honored to come aboard such a unqiue air craft. He said they landed and had buffalo burgers for lunch. I have a silver Goodyear Blimp tie clip. This took place in the 1960's. Since he eventally lost eye sight in one eye, it was a thrill to have a memory of his ride on the blimp!

Sarah - Los Angeles, CA

I remember in 1975 The Goodyear Blimp America came to Watertown,N.Y. I was 12 years old. Dexter is a very small town so it was a beautiful sight for us to see. I remember being so amazed, I was just in awe of how beautiful it was. I will never forget that day. I still have the booklet from that day also. The crew from the airship were handing them out. That was 32 years ago. I still treasure that booklet and the memories.

The reason for this story is the Goodyear blimp is making another stop today 1 Aug 07 at the Watertown Airport. I wish I could take the time off from my work to see it. The Memories...Thank You Goodyear.

Terry - Dexter, NY

My father was a Goodyear engineer based in the Los Angeles area during the late 50's/early 60's. One of the company "perks" back then was Goodyear's annual Christmas celebration.

Families of Goodyear employees would gather at the Los Angeles blimp facility, where we would be paid a special visit by none other than Saint Nick. Santa would arrive at the facility not in his sleigh pulled by reindeer, but by blimp! I recall sitting in the bleachers at the field and watching the blimp approach, with the jolly old elf leaning out of the passenger window and waving to us kids during his descent.

Once on the ground, children were treated to candy-stuffed stockings and Goodyear-themed toys.

Good times!

Tom - Anaheim, CA

I recently discovered some old pictures that my mother had. (She died in 2003 at the age of 103.)

One of the pictures was of the dirigible, the USS Akron above the house next door to us on Greenwood Ave. On the back mother had written, "Akron on her maiden flight". That would have been on September 23, 1931. The airship was probably at 1000 feet, and by standing in approximately the same area and comparing it with the roof of the house, you can visualize how big it was. It was huge. I was only 3 at the time, but I distinctly remember it and remembered that a picture had been taken .

I thought that the picture was long gone and was pleasantly surprised when I found it. Although this is not a blimp story it is about lighter than air and the great airships which were built by Goodyear.

William - Silver Lake, OH

While serving in the Navy at Pensacola Naval Air Station, I had the good fortune to be in the tower at Sherman Field when a Goodyear blimp came in for a few 'touch and goes'. The blimp pilot told the tower that he'd like to do 3 touch and goes, (meaning that he will take the airship and touch the landing gear tire to the runway and take off again). He also said that after the third touch and go, he'll do a 'maximum takeoff climb'.

I stood there watching this beautiful Goodyear line up on the runway. He must have been doing a blinding 40 miles an hour. His single wheel touched, or I should say, bounced on the runway three times. Then at the last touch and go, he pulled his airship up into a mind blowing maximum takeoff climb. The airship must have been pointed skyward at least 75 degrees. A very steep climb out. Everyone in the tower was in awe, including myself.

This beautiful blimp climbed skyward so slowly that it was like a ballet. Magnificent. It looked humorous and breathtaking at the same time.

Thank you Goodyear for giving us these beautiful blimps.

William - Las Vegas, NV