We’ve had almost four years to get used to the idea, and now it’s happening: Goodyear is retiring the last blimp in its fleet in favor of its cousin, the zeppelin. But don’t worry, it’ll still call those dirigibles “blimps” to keep things blimple. Ahem, simple.
Employees gathered this morning to watch the deflation of the Spirit of Innovation blimp, reports the Associated Press. The dirigible was originally christened “Columbia” in 1986, and its gas bag — known as the “envelope” was almost at the end of its life.
It will be replaced by Wingfoot Two, an aircraft that resembles a blimp but is actually a zeppelin, or semi-rigid dirigible. The main difference is that zeppelins — being semi-rigid — do not deflate in the absence of helium, unlike blimps.
WingFoot Two is also 50 feet longer than the old airships at 246 feet, and has three engines instead of two. That means it can go more than 70 miles per hour and maneuver more easily than a blimp.
Zeppelins have quieter engines as well, which is a boon for covering golf tournaments from the sky, company airship historian Eddie Ogden explained to the AP, as it won’t disrupt golfers trying to concentrate on the ground.
But again, even if your snotty friends correct you when you say it, the airships floating above sporting events and other occasions will still be called blimps, for obvious reasons.
“Because a Goodyear Semi-rigid Dirigible doesn’t roll off the tongue,” Ogden told the AP.