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R.I.P.: SoCal's Goodyear Blimp Took Its Last Ride After 13 Years
After 13 years of faithfully flying through SoCal's skies, our trusty ol' Goodyear Blimp is being put to rest.
More than 1,500 fans paid their respects to the 192-foot-long "Spirit of America" Goodyear Blimp over the weekend at its base in Carson before it took its final flight on Monday to Tustin's hangar, the OC Register reports. That's where crews will take apart the airship over the next few days.
Parts of the blimp will also be going to a better place. Its gondola will be heading to the Planes of Fame flight museum at Chino Airport, and 1,500 pounds of its envelope will be donated to Trash for Teaching, a nonprofit group that salvages manufactured goods and uses the materials for educational projects for students, according to Daily Breeze.
Carson's "Spirit of America" is one of three blimps Goodyear is phasing out—the other two are in Akron, Ohio, and Pompano Beach, Fla. The city of Carson has been home to Goodyear Blimps since 1967, and the "Spirit of America," which first launched in 2002, is one of the similar models that have been used here. They're being replaced with newer and faster blimps—the German-made ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik. The new one is expected to start running from Carson in September 2016. In the meantime, a newer sister airship from Florida, dubbed "Spirit of Innovation," will fill the sad, empty void left behind from "Spirit of America." Let's pour one out for that one.
The Goodyear Blimp got some publicity from rapper Ice Cube, whose 1993 track, "It Was a Good Day," had the lyrics, "Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp / And it read "Ice Cube's a Pimp." Stand-up comedian and blogger Donovan Strain said he figured out the exact date the rapper was talking about in his song—January 20, 1992. A group called the Goodday Blimp Project, which includes friends Jon Barco, Andy Dao, Bryan Denman, and Mike Lopez, rallied for Goodyear to fly its blimp with the words "Ice Cube's a Pimp" emblazoned across of it. Since they were also raising money to go towards a nonprofit for at-risk youth in South L.A. in conjunction with this, Goodyear met them halfway (because you can't be flying the word "pimp" around for kids!) and flew the airship with the words, "Ice Cube Says Today Is A Good Day," instead last January.
"It’s been good to us and we’ve been good to it," blimp pilot Matthew St. John told Daily Breeze. "It’s sad to see it go, but it’s exciting to know Goodyear has a plan for the future. The public loves it."
Eds. note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly said that Donovan Strain rallied for the Goodyear Blimp to have Ice Cube's lyric on it, but it was actually members of the Goodday Blimp Project. It's since been corrected. LAist regrets this error.