Goodyear airship to visit UC this week

Goodyear airship to visit UC this week

Posted: Monday, September 29, 2008 10:17 pm

  A famous public relations icon is coming to Union City this week — the Goodyear blimp Spirit of Innovation.

It will visit the community in recognition of the Union City Goodyear plant’s 40th anniversary and will arrive in Union City Tuesday afternoon.

The schedule for the blimp crew calls for flight operations over Union City Wednesday afternoon, followed by continued aerial time with night sign messages early that evening.

On Thursday, the blimp will be moored at Everett-Stewart Regional Airport.

Area elementary schools are invited to bring children to the airport from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday to give them an opportunity to see the blimp up close. A crew member will be with the blimp to talk with the school groups during this time. School groups interested in this opportunity should contact Sam Sinclair Jr. at 884-2530.

The airship will depart Friday morning to prepare for the national TV telecast of the NASCAR race at Talladega  Sunday.

“Needless to say, we are excited about the airship coming to Union City,” said Todd Turner, plant manager. “This is the first time since 1998 that the blimp will have been with us for a multi-day visit. We are really looking forward to it.”

The blimp visiting Union City, the Spirit of Innovation, is the newest of the blimp fleet and is based in Pompano Beach, Fla. The pilots of the blimp are Marty Chandler, Brian Comer and Corky Belanger.

The blimp operations are supported by a crew of 16, two base maintenance personnel and a public relations manager. The crew follows the blimp in a bus, nine-passenger van and a 40-foot specially-outfitted tractor-trailer.

The Spirit of Innovation was the first Goodyear blimp to be named by the general public through a Web-based name-the-blimp contest. It was christened June 21, 2006, by Lesa France Kennedy, president of International Speedway Corp. and a member of NASCAR’s board of directors, along with Lynn Keegan, wife of Goodyear CEO Bob Keegan.

Major events that the Spirit of Innovation, along with previous Florida-based blimps, have covered include Super Bowls; ABC Monday Night Football; NCAA college football games; NASCAR races in Charlotte, N.C., Daytona, Fla., and Miami; NASDAQ tennis matches; U.S. Open tennis matches; Major League Baseball games; and the NBA finals.

The Spirit of Innovation is one of three Goodyear blimps operating in the U.S. It is complemented by the Spirit of America, based in Redondo Beach, Calif; and the Spirit of Goodyear in Akron, Ohio.
Published in The Messenger 9.29.08

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