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Nothing but Blue Skies for Crew of Goodyear Blimp

The Goodyear blimp is one of the most recognizable aircraft in the world, and its crew of 15 still launch the dirigible in the same way it has been done for a hundred years, pulling-guide ropes by hand. Goodyear blimp chief pilot Marty Chandler believes he has the best job in the world, with the greatest perk undoubtedly being the view. "Fly the entire Florida coastline, you've got nothing but scenic ocean views all day long. You see different types of fish and mammals in the water," says Chandler. The Goodyear blimp provides birds-eye views of some of the biggest sporting events, like baseball playoffs and the Super Bowl. The blimp achieves its buoyancy by being filled with 100 percent helium, which is not flammable. The blimp is flown uses propellers to move it forward, and a wooden wheel to control direction and altitude using flaps. Safety is the top priority, and the crew is fully dedicated to keeping the icon flight-worthy. Thomas McKewon, a rigger on the blimp's crew, patches tears, repairs cables, and maintains the ratio of helium to air, all jobs that keep him scrambling over the surface of the aircraft. However, McKewon says his job is quite fun as he spends his days bouncing on the skin of the blimp. "It's kind of obviously pretty bouncy, but it's actually quite fun being up here," says McKewon.

October 14, 2009

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