I recently had the opportunity to check off a major bucket list item – getting a ride in the Goodyear Blimp! Rides aboard the Goodyear Blimp are by invitation only and I was lucky enough to win the tickets at a silent auction. The ride itself is only 45 minutes long, but the views are spectacular and the memory will certainly last a lifetime.
When the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company began in 1898, America was right in the middle of the Industrial Revolution. The company used that momentum to find unique ways to expand beyond tires. Goodyear decided to enter into the business of lighter-than-air balloons and aircraft. This eventually led to the creation of one of America’s longest-standing corporate icons – the Goodyear Blimp.
In the 1920s, Goodyear Blimps began dotting the skies of America and brought the Goodyear name to remote locations around the country. From Hollywood to Ohio and New York to Florida, the Goodyear Blimps made their presence known.
Our journey, through the Greater Fort Lauderdale area, left from the Pompono Beach Goodyear Blimp base and went north up the coast through Boca Raton to Deerfield Beach.
When you arrive at the reception area, you watch a brief safety video with boarding and disembarking instructions. The video explains that when they take you to the blimp base, you need to stand a few hundred feet away because the wind can easily shift the blimp.
There’s a ladder attached to the bottom of the gondola which passengers must be able to ascend and descend in order to enter and exit the airship. On our trip, we had two pilots and a total of 4 passengers (including me). The gondola is large, but I believe they limit the rides to 6 passengers for a small and intimate experience.
Once onboard, we are asked to take a seat near the front and put on our seatbelt. As it becomes airborne and we get up a distance, we can remove our seatbelt and walk around to take pictures. The blimp isn’t climate-controlled so whatever the weather is outside is pretty much the same inside.
It has two windows that are open though, where you can take pictures, get a nice breeze of fresh air, and admire the views. One of the pilots even pointed out sharks and stingrays in the water below, which we luckily could see – the water is so crystal clear!
When you arrive back at the base, the blimp has a propeller at the bottom, which makes it easy for you to descend. When you get off, you need to get away from the blimp quickly as it shifts significantly upon landing. The instructions were always very clear and everyone working there was so helpful.
It was so interesting to go on an experience like this, quite different from an airplane or helicopter with its specific safety instructions. The flight itself was so peaceful and unique and I loved seeing the views from above. If you ever get lucky enough to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity, I highly recommend it!