LIVERMORE, Calif. (KTVU) - Look up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s a blimp!
Yes that’s a cliché, but hard to not get excited about the Goodyear Blimp being in town.
The airship arrived Thursday and will be based in Livermore throughout Super Bowl weekend. The crew will be providing aerial coverage for ESPN during in the days leading up to the game. The Goodyear blimp is not allowed to fly over the Levi’s Stadium during the game due to security.
Pilot Matt St. John said being a Goodyear blimp pilot is certainly a talker.
"People think you can just hit a parking brake and stop over events, and that's not the case," he said.
"It's like flying a submarine, except instead of water we have air. So landing a blimp is like landing a submarine on the ocean floor."
KTVU and other media were invited to take tours on Friday morning. On our flight a television crew from Carolina was on board.
The public can’t purchase rides in the blimp, but Goodyear provides free rides to charity. Most of their work is for television networks and corporate clients.
The Goodyear Blimp being used for Super Bowl is being retired in 2017. Goodyear is switching to Zeppelins instead of a blimp. The biggest difference between the two is the Zeppelin has a hard shell, while the blimp requires air pressure to stay inflated.
The lifting gas in both ships will still be helium. The helium Goodyear uses comes from mines in the Midwest.
A top speed of the current Goodyear blimps are about 50mph, where the new Zeppelins will top out at 70mph. It took us about an hour to travel from Livermore to San Francisco.
The Goodyear blimp will be making trips back and forth from Livermore through Sunday. The crew of 20 will be leaving Monday morning to Los Angeles, where the blimp is based.