March 2017: Last blimp goes flat but Goodyear will still fly

FILE PHOTO - In this Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, file photo, the Goodyear Blimp Spirit of Innovation takes off for a flight over Super Bowl fan sites from the airport in Livermore, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Latest on the deflation of Goodyear’s last blimp (all times local):

6 a.m. – The last of Goodyear’s fabled fleet of blimps has gone flat, but the company’s flight program will continue.

About two dozen company employees were on hand early Tuesday to witness the deflation of California-based “Spirit of Innovation.”

Spokeswoman Priscilla Tasker says crew members yanked a rip line to open a section at the top of the blimp’s gas bag, known as an envelope. It took about two minutes for it to crumple to the ground.

The craft’s historic gondola will be displayed at Goodyear’s Ohio airship base.

Its replacement, “Wingfoot Two,” resembles a blimp but is a semi-rigid dirigible.

The new airships, which don’t go flat when deflated, are faster and more maneuverable.

And Goodyear says they’ll still be called blimps. That’s because, well, blimp just sounds better.

FILE PHOTO – This Feb. 5, 2016 file photo shows the Goodyear Blimp “Spirit of Innovation” lands after a flight over Super Bowl fan sites at the airport in Livermore, Calif. Goodyear is letting the helium out of the last of its fabled fleet of blimps on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Its replacement, “Wingfoot Two,” will look about the same when it arrives at Goodyear’s California airship base, but it will be a semi-rigid dirigible, not a blimp. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

 

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