The ancient magic of flight the Goodyear airship is in Italy

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VIDIGULFO. It is noticeable from afar, it catches the attention and in the end it was born for it. The Goodyear Blimp airship returned to Italy 10 years after the last time, making the eyes of the whole North East slip upwards, before landing in the fields of the Pavia province. Where, a few kilometers from Milan, it dominated the scene even on land. He is here to head today to the Monza racetrack where he will take aerial shots of the races of the Wec Fia World Endurance Championship.

An icon impossible not to recognize, that of Goodyear, born almost by chance at the beginning of the twentieth century when the tire manufacturer decided to diversify. In 1910 he created an aviation department, in 1917 the United States Navy ordered nine airships. The balloons were then used for humanitarian and relief purposes. Today Goodyear no longer produces them, but has three for overhead shooting. The one operating in Europe is a Goodyear-branded Zeppelin NT.


The flight experience
The writer does not like heights, the worry, before climbing, was there indeed. Approaching the Blimp, one realizes how small the cabin dedicated to passengers, or the “gondola”, is compared to the balloon, the “envelope” filled with helium. Seen from the outside, the gondola looks like a quiet place despite the constant swinging at the starting line. Climb the ladder, the sensations are confirmed. The noise before take-off is also constant but discreet. And available to travelers there is a large space, with a virtually 360-degree view of the panorama and no filter with the cockpit.


The Blimp Goodyear promises a unique flying experience and no blind spots to observe for those suffering from vertigo. But, fortunately, there is no need. The airship climbs slowly, flies over the countryside a few hundred meters high and also allows you to enjoy, for this journey from afar, the profiles of Milan. The pilots also invite you to open the windows to caress the air at high altitude or better enjoy the view. Even looking out, for the more daring. Until landing, where it is discovered that the airship at take off “seemed almost vertical.” From within, it is not perceived. After the flight of about 45 minutes you leave almost disappointed not to be able to travel like this all the time. The maximum speed – 125 km / h, with airliners traveling on average around 980 km / h – and the maximum flight altitude, 3,000 meters, do not make it the most effective means of transport in the new millennium. The most serene, for those who do not like heights, among those tried so far, yes.


Features
The entire structure of the airship is made up of aluminum and carbon fiber trusses, like some sports cars. It is 75 meters long, 19.5 meters high and can accommodate 14 passengers. The Blimp is powered by three four-cylinder engines of 200 horsepower each, positioned on the sides of the envelope and in the tail. The weight stands at 8,970 pounds, equal to six adult hippos, the company says. Autonomy? From 24 to 40 hours depending on the weather conditions. The only real unknown – calculated before take-off, no problem on board – of an airship trip. For the rest it is pure comfort. It’s pure magic: adults can review the Goodyear airship of their childhood and show it, for the first time in a while, to their children.


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