Goodyear Blimp Maintenance

We are in Hartford, CT for the NBAA Maintenance Conference this week. I've had the opportunity to talk to many readers and exhibitors since yesterday when the conference started.

I've had the opportunity to sit in on a variety of sessions here at the conference. was a session on Goodyear Blimp maintenance and operations. It was presented by Jim Crone, Goodyear Airship Operations maintenance manager and David Spratley, a mechanic in the department.

There are three Goodyear blimps based in the United States that travel across the US and Canada to various events each year. One is in Akron, OH, another one is based in Florida and the third is based in California. Each airship travels across the US and Canada for around six months out of the year. I didn't realize that the airships don't return home after each stop. Instead, they are on the road for the entire time. A fleet of 18 wheelers and other support vehicles follow each airship from destination to destination. All maintenance is performed on site. 

Unlike fixed wing aircraft or helicopters, the airships can't lease a hangar to perform maintenance. Instead, all maintenance is performed where the airship is moored. There are also many composite components on the new generation Goodyear blimp, so repairs are no longer a simple sheet metal repair. 

The airship based in California just arrived in Akron for a five-week phase inspection. Greg Napert and I are talking with the Goodyear Operations team to hopefully schedule a visit to Akron while the airship is there for its phase inspection. Stay tuned for a future article and possible podcast based on our visit!

Speaking of podcasts, we have a new podcast uploaded to our website. You can click HERE to listen to our interview with Nick Pinchuk, chairman and CEO of Snap-on Incorporated. In it, Pinchuk talks to us about his passion for promoting skilled trades and offers ideas on how we can help attract more young kids to careers in aviation maintenance and other skilled trades.

Thanks for reading (and listening), and we appreciate your feedback!


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D.O.M. magazine is the premier magazine for aviation maintenance management professionals. Its management-focused editorial provides information maintenance managers need and want including business best practices, professional development, regulatory, quality management, legal issues and more. The digital version of D.O.M. magazine is available for free on all devices (iOS, Android, and Amazon Kindle).

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Joe Escobar (
Editorial Director

Greg Napert (
Publisher, Sales & Marketing

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Director of Business, Sales & Marketing