Long time no see: Goodyear Blimp to sail over Toronto this weekend
For the first time since 2007, Torontonians can turn their eyes to the skyline and catch a glimpse of the famed Goodyear Blimp.
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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, nope . . . it’s Goodyear’s eye in the sky.
For the first time since 2007, Torontonians can turn their eyes to the skyline and catch a glimpse of the famed Goodyear Blimp. Or rather, one of them — Goodyear has three crafts in operation at once, according to Eddie Ogden, the tire company’s blimp PR specialist and historian.
The craft — here to film aerial coverage of the World Cup of Hockey and the Toronto Blue Jays — was scheduled to arrive in the GTA on Friday and is staying at the Oshawa Executive Airport during its visit. It will also fly over the Niagara region to take photos on Sunday.
“The Goodyear blimps got a tradition of covering really the biggest sports and entertainment events here in North America and around the world,” said Paul Fitzhenry, senior vice-president of global communications for Goodyear. “So the visit to Toronto is really in recognition that Toronto is on the world sports calendar this week.”
A fully staffed Goodyear blimp employs 22 people: 16 ground crew, five pilots (two on board and three on the ground), and one PR person. Torontonians can be comforted by the fact that such a sizeable group is used. This will ensure there aren’t any repeats of Oct. 28, 2015, when a U.S. military blimp went rogue in Maryland and briefly captivated social media.
The airship visiting Toronto, Wingfoot Two, is state of the art — the second of its kind (following, naturally, Wingfoot One) in a new, technologically advanced fleet. In fact, it’s technically not a blimp at all.
It’s a semi-rigid airship, meaning it has a partial frame. The previous GZ-20 model was non-rigid, meaning it didn’t have an internal structure.
Both models use helium and are inflated to a particular pressure, but Wingfoot Two and Wingfoot One have numerous differences from their predecessors. They’re bigger, heavier, and surprisingly, faster. Wingfoot Two is about 75 metres long, weighs 19,780 lbs without helium, and can travel at nearly 120 km/h.
With stats like these, one can’t help but ask, are blimps safe? But according to Ogden, flying in a Goodyear blimp is “arguably the safest mode of flight.”
“First of all you have three engines,” Ogden said. “Second of all you’re flying at 1,500 to 2,000 feet and you’re going very, very slowly. You’re probably cruising at 25 to 35 miles per hour.”
The crew is excited to visit Toronto after so much time, according to Ogden. But Toronto residents who happened to catch the blimp last time it was in town needn’t worry about repetition.
“The new airship has a different look,” Ogden said. “The paint scheme is different so people who saw it in 2007 and remember how it looked have something new to look forward to.”
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Humans of Toronto