Landing accident in Philadelphia destroys Goodyear blimp

PHILADELPHIA - A Goodyear blimp was blown into a pole and ripped in half as it tried to land Saturday, sending the cockpit carrying a pilot and six passengers skidding along the ground.

No one was injured.

The blimp had just touched the ground at Northeast Philadelphia Airport with about 10 people tugging on mooring ropes from the nose when a gust of wind blew the airship about 20 feet, lifting one of the men off the ground.

The pilot started the engines and tried to avoid the 40-foot-high red mooring mast but was unsuccessful.

The metal cockpit eventually fell on its side, and its occupants, who were not wearing seat belts but were holding onto railings, all walked out uninjured.

Goodyear spokesman Jerry Jenkins said the 3-year-old airship, one of seven in Goodyear's fleet, was a total loss. He said a Goodyear blimp hadn't deflated to such an extent in at least 20 years.

The blimp, which was taking passengers on a promotional flight, had filmed an NFL preseason game on Friday night and was to leave Sunday for the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Another Goodyear blimp crashed in October in Akron, Ohio. It had mechanical problems and flew into a tree.

Goodyear blimps are filled with a mixture of air and helium. They can fly at 50 mph and have a cruising speed of 30 mph. The blimp that crashed was 192 feet long and 59 feet high.


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