I have attended most of America’s major sporting events in the last 75 years, Super Bowls, World Series, the Indy 500, the Daytona 500, the NBA Championships, the NCAA Championships … even the Olympics. I have gone to war with our country and helped protect our ships at sea. I’ve provided a bird’s-eye-view of World Fairs and helped celebrate the Statue of Liberty’s rebirth in 1986. During disasters, I help people find food, water, shelter and each other. Each year I spend hundreds of hours promoting non-profit and charitable causes.
Along the way, I’ve become one of the world’s most easily recognizable corporate icons. I am the Goodyear blimp and on Saturday, June 3rd, I will celebrate my 75th birthday.
On June 3, 1925, the first public relations airship for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, the Pilgrim, was launched with little fanfare at the company’s Wingfoot Lake airship facility, near Akron.
Goodyear has gone on to build hundreds of blimps, many for the U.S. Navy, but its public relations fleet has become well-known around the world — operating in Europe, Latin America and Australia.
Since its humble beginning, the Goodyear blimp has become synonymous with big events. Aside from covering major sporting events, the airships have flown over major news events, too. They have attended political conventions, Royal Weddings and helped with disaster relief during earthquakes and hurricanes. This year will not be any different.
Goodyear’s fleet of seven airships around the world will cover some of the most popular events in America, Europe and Latin America, and top it all off by providing aerial coverage of the Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
“Our famous airships continue as a positive and inspirational symbol for the world’s largest tire and rubber company in the new Millennium,” said Sam Gibara, Goodyear’s chairman, CEO and president. “For 75 years, Goodyear has used its airships to support our businesses, help charities raise money and provide the best view of major television events. We are extremely proud of everyone in our airship operations who protect this rich heritage and provide a very visible source of pride to our associates around the world.”
Earlier this year, Gibara and his wife, Salma, helped astronaut Dr. Sally Ride christen the company’s newest airship — The Spirit of Goodyear. The blimp was named to honor the Goodyear associates — past and present — who have helped the company become and maintain its number one ranking in the tire and rubber industry.
The Goodyear blimps will celebrate their birthdays with local ceremonies at their bases in Carson, California; Pompano Beach, Florida; and in the cities and countries where they are currently traveling while on tour for the company.