Goodyear blimp pi­lots need to be re­trained

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - BUSINESS -

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.

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