ON APRIL 15TH OF 2003, IN BURBANK CALIFORNIA, HISTORY WAS MADE, WHEN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER 50 YEARS, A W.W.II GENERAL ELECTRIC ANTI-AIRCRAFT SEARCHLIGHT DEMONSTRATED IT'S ABILITY TO TARGET, ILLUMINATE, AND TRACK AN AIRCRAFT BY REMOTE CONTROL. THE TARGET WAS THE GOODYEAR BLIMP "SPIRIT OF AMERICA". THIS SEARCHLIGHT IS BELIEVED TO BE THE WORLDS ONLY FULLY RESTORED SEARCHLIGHT THAT WORKS BY REMOTE CONTROL WITH IT'S DISTANT ELECTRONIC CONTROL UNIT JUST AS IT DID IN WORLD WAR II. THIS EVENT TOOK PLACE IN THE PARKING LOT OF GENERAL ELECTRIC'S NBC STUDIOS IN BURBANK CALIFORNIA. ABOUT 50 NBC EMPLOYEES AND A FEW CURIOUS PUBLIC ATTENDED THE EVENT. CLICK THE PHOTOS BELOW FOR A LARGER VIEW.
THE GOODYEAR BLIMP
Blimps were also used in World War II.
the years, Goodyear built more than 300 airships, more than any other
in the world. Akron, Ohio, the company's world headquarters, was the
of blimp manufacturing for several decades.
During World War II, many of the Goodyear-built airships provided the U.S. Navy with a unique aerial surveillance capability. Often used as convoy escorts, the blimps were able to look down on the ocean surface and spot a rising submarine and radio its position to the convoy's surface
ships... in essence acting as an early warning system. Modern Surveilance technology eventually eclipsed the advantages of the airship fleet, and in 1962 the Navy discontinued the program.
Today, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company no longer mass-produces airships. In the United States it operates three well-recognized blimps: The Spirit of Goodyear, based in Akron, Ohio;the Spirit of America, based in Carson, California; and the Stars & Stripes, in Pompano Beach, Florida.
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