Goodyear Inflatable Hangar Goes Up Overnight
In California last night (Tues night) a crew of about 15 people appeared to be inflating a new Goodyear blimp. In fact, they were erecting a new hangar they called the largest inflatable structure of its kind in North America. It was something new for the Akron-based company.
Before night fell, men and women began dragging 46 thousand pounds of fabric across a hard base in Carson California. Next they attach industrial fans to inflate it.
The silver cover with the big Goodyear logo looked pretty familiar to longtime Goodyear airship employee Ed Ogden.
“From my perspective, someone who worked with non-rigid airships, blimps, when you build an airship it lays out just like that hangar did on the floor, the fabric. “
The head of the British company that made the hangar, Lindstrand Technologies, called the 337 foot long building different than “anything done before.” Ogden agreed with that.
“The blowers just started moving the fabric in such a way that it was sort of surreal because we were doing it in the evening - to watch this slowly come up.”
Goodyear hoped to erect the building 10 days ago to house its California-based airship Wingfoot 2. But the high winds that fueled the wildfires in the state also made it too dangerous to inflate the hangar.
For the last 49 years the company used to store its California blimp outside but no more.
“It helps save the fabric from both weather and ultraviolet, says Ogden. “But in this case its especially important because this particular semi-rigid airship has to be hung from a ceiling part of the year while they go inside and do maintenance, because they remove the helium.”
Ogden says because the property was built on a landfill, it was better not to dig a foundation for a conventional building.
A third new blimp is under construction in a 100 year old hangar at Wingfoot Lake in Suffield Township outside Akron.