AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Goodyear is officially welcoming the second airship in the fleet replacing its famous blimps.
From the ground, the cigar-shaped replacements look much like their predecessors. Though they still use helium and bear the blue-and-gold Goodyear logo, they aren't technically blimps because they have a fixed structure holding the balloon in place. They also are longer, have a third engine, make less noise and are more maneuverable.
The first of the new models, Wingfoot One, launched in 2014 and is based in Pompano Beach, Florida. Wingfoot Two was finished in March and already was used for some event coverage ahead of Friday's christening in Akron, where Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. is based.
Wingfoot Two eventually will be based in Carson, California, where the last of the previous blimps has been operating, Goodyear airship spokeswoman Emily Cropper said.
Goodyear expects to retire the remaining blimp, the Spirit of Innovation, next year and start building the third vehicle in the new fleet, she said.
The other blimps from the old fleet, the Spirit of Goodyear and the Spirit of America, were previously retired.
Akron native Savannah James, the wife of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, is the official christener for Wingfoot Two.