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2003 Loustal GoodYear / The Light Stuff

The Light Stuff The New Yorker, June 9, 2003 P. 68

Annals of Aviation

The Light Stuff

ANNALS OF AVIATION about Goodyear blimps and apprentice blimp pilot Jon Conrad... Tells about the company’s newest blimp, the Spirit of America, and relates the history of Goodyear blimps... . Since the nineties, the company has had to compete for television exposure with the Lightship Group, which owns and operates the MetLife blimps and has contracts with several other companies, including Sanyo and Saturn. Lightship has put an end to Goodyear’s dominance of big-time sporting events like the World Series and the Super Bowl. Even so, within the tiny airship subculture-there are fewer blimp pilots than there are astronauts-flying for Goodyear remains the most coveted job on the planet... Blimp pilots prefer to think of themselves as captains of airships; indeed, blimp flight has an oddly nautical feel. The ship rises upward like a balloon, yet it feels supported underneath, too, as if it were floating on water...