Goodyear blimp pilots need to be retrained
AKRON, Ohio — The Goodyear Tire company is training pilots of its iconic blimps to fly new airships in Ohio. Goodyear retired the last of its old blimp fleet in March. Its new airships have frame structures inside the envelopes to maintain their shape. It normally takes almost a year of training to learn how to fly a blimp. Even experienced pilots have to fly the new airships for 100 hours before they can go solo. There are fewer airship pilots than astronauts, making it one of the rarest jobs in the world.
Pilots call it one of the toughest jobs in aviation. There’s no autopilot, and the airship’s bulk means it’s easily tossed by winds and rain.
But Goodyear’s pilots say they enjoy the challenge.