LONG BEACH, Calif. (FOX 11) - Last march, the Goodyear Blimp said goodbye to SoCal. Seven months ago the fleet was retired and has since been replaced by bigger, better and more high tech models.
Today, the new blimp landed in the Southland and a FOX 11 reporter was lucky enough to get a ride.
It's not a bird, it's not a plane... It's a blimp! The Goodyear Blimp, Wingfoot Two makes it Southern California debut. But this is no ordinary airship...spanning 246 feet long.
"58 feet wide 65 feet tall it holds 300 thousand cubic feet of helium inside.... top speed 73 knots which is a lot faster than our old one." according to Senior Pilot, Taylor Deen.
Deen has been flying for Goodyear for six years and is the only female flier on staff. She tells us how she first found the gig online.
"Luckily I got the interview because my experience was just about where they wanted it and after all the interviews you go through... they hired me." said Deen.
The company invited members of the media for a ride...including FOX 11's own Stephanie Stanton. Seated across from Stephanie, and even more excited... Reporter Dianne McNinch with the Signal Hill Tribune.
"It was just amazing! "said McNinch, who just celebrated her 74th birthday. This ride was on her bucket list.
"This is like oh my goodness - what a birthday present." McNinch laughed.
During our 20 minute ride we got a bird's eye view of Downtown Long Beach and the port. A clear, sunny day...inside the blimp it was remarkably quiet.
Pilot Deen says, look for the new and improved blimp overhead at your favorite sporting events and maybe over the World Series next week.
"If they make it to the 5th and 6th game...we'll be able to cover those if they come back to LA so we're excited about that." Deen said.
The Goodyear Blimp, a view from above, and for all of us...a ride of a lifetime.