It’s been a fixture of televised sports for many years. Now the iconic Goodyear Blimp is visiting Canada and is stationed in Oshawa. As Joe Scarpelli tells us, due to mechanical issues, the blimp was unable to fly today, but the crew was more than happy to give us a tour.
It’s one of the most iconic…and largest, sights in the sky.
Edward Ogden, PR & Historian “They say if the Goodyear blimp is there, you know it’s a big deal.”
It’s often seen floating above the worlds biggest sporting and entertainment events, providing one-of-a-kind aerial shots for broadcast. For the first time in close to 10 years, Canadian airspace is host to the Goodyear blimp. Edward Ogden has been doing PR for the airship operations for 39 years. He was with the ground crew as they crossed the border on foot while the blimp hovered above the Canada Customs station.
“They can’t believe it. They look at the paperwork and they say ‘you’re importing what?’ and when we tell them the blimp they say ‘is it out there now?’ and we say ‘yes, it’s out there now.’ They come outside and we see them taking pictures. It’s a pretty good time.”
The blimp, Wingfoot Two, is the newest of Goodyear’s three air crafts and is on its first international journey. It’s nearly the length of a football field, flies at an altitude of about 1500 metres and can travel at close to 120 kilometres per hour.
“It’s a balloon that has three engines mounted on it.”
Jerry Hissem has been a blimp pilot for 19 years. He says the question he gets asked most is what it’s like to operate a blimp.
“I compare it to floating in a bubble. If you can imagine yourself floating in a bubble through the sky, that’s what it’s like flying.”
Wingfoot Two travelled from Akron, Ohio to provide aeriel coverage for the World Cup of Hockey and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Edward Ogden “Man, I tell you, this is one of the greatest looking cities from the air.”
Jerry Hissem “We saw it in the daytime and also at night and it’s just gorgeous.”
For some, cruising in a Goodyear blimp will never be more than a fantasy. For these guys, it’s the greatest job in the world.
Edward Ogden “This is one of those jobs that you just scratch your head and go ‘why would I change this?'”
Jerry Hissem “I wouldn’t trade it for anything. To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t.”