Akron-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has narrowed the list of possible names for the new airship that is the next generation of its famous blimp.
Most are single-word offerings, a throwback to the marketing icon’s early years when it sported monikers such as Pilgrim, Reliance and Volunteer.
The winning name will net the person who made the submission a grand prize of access to the blimp for one day. The nine finalists will receive a set of Goodyear tires.
Goodyear plans to christen the new airship this summer. It will replace the Spirit of Goodyear, which was retired after a record-setting 14 years of service.
The company unveiled a model LZ NO7-101 blimp — built in conjunction with German-based Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik — that has a frame supporting the outer envelope. That’s a change from GZ-20 models now being flown. Those blimps have no internal framework.
The new design makes for a longer, sleeker blimp. It also will fly at a faster speed and can carry more passengers — 12, along with two crew members.
The new blimp will be based in Akron. Goodyear also operates Spirit of Innovation, based in Florida, and California-based Spirit of America. Its Asia-based airship is Ling Hang Zhe, which translates as Navigator.
Goodyear blimps are best known for providing aerial television coverage of sporting events. The company has been flying blimps since 1925.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports people submitted more than 15,000 suggestions through a naming contest. The ten finalists include Ambassador, Explorer, Inspiration and Pride of Goodyear.
Blimp fans will have until May 9 to cast a final vote on the Goodyear airship’s new name. Vote online at www.Goodyear.com/NametheBlimp.
People can vote for their favorites on Goodyear’s website for the next three weeks. Goodyear has said whoever submitted winning name will get access to the airship for a day.