Goodyear Blimp over Monza – 18/07/2021

Today the Zeppelin NT airship in Goodyear livery flew above the Monza racetrack during the endurance race 6 Hours of Monza of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Today the Zeppelin NT airship wearing the Goodyear livery flew above the Monza racetrack during the endurance race 6 Hours of Monza of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The Zeppelin NT is a semi-rigid airship: it has an internal rigid structure, so ti does not completely “deflate” when helium is removed, unlike the more common blimps (despite this, it is marketed as the “Goodyear Blimp” anyway).

The first of 7 Zeppelin NTs was built in 1997 in the Zeppelin factory in Friedrichshafen. Unlike its “grandfathers” built before WW2, it has fly-by-wire flight controls and swiveling propellers. This enables it to be flown by a single pilot (though 2 pilots are often on board) and 3 ground assistants for take-offs and landings. Being 75-meters long, it is longer than an A380, but it can carry 12/14 passengers only.

Due to its size, it was based in the Automotive Safety Centre in Vairano di Vidigulfo, close to Pavia, which is commonly known as the “Quattroruote test track”, being used by the most widely read Italian car magazine.

It was not my first encounter with the Goodyear Blimp: in 2011 I managed to see “Spirit of Safety II”, a much smaller American Blimp Corporation A-60+ which was following the famous cycling tournament Giro d’Italia. It was based in Bresso, Milan’s general aviation airport.

It wasn’t my first encounter with the Zeppelin NT either: during AERO 2017 in Friedrichshafen I saw its “twin” wearing a special livery commemorating 100 years since the death of count Ferdinand von Zeppelin:

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