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Wingfoot One selected as new blimp name

7/24/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

AKRON — Wingfoot One has been selected as the name for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s newest airship, company officials announced July 21.

Wingfoot One was selected from nearly 15,000 names submitted in an online public contest that started four months ago. A panel of Goodyear judges narrowed the submissions to 10 finalists before a final round of public voting determined the name of the newest addition to the Goodyear fleet of airships, according to company officials.

With nearly 35 percent of the public vote, Wingfoot One received the most votes of the 10 finalists and will take its place in Goodyear airship history as the name connected with the first of a new generation of state-of-art airships, according to company officials.

Wingfoot One was the name submitted by Akron resident Charlotte White, who will receive a day of activities with Wingfoot One. The other nine finalists who submitted names will receive a set of Goodyear tires.

“Seventy-six years of living in Akron and I never got to ride on the blimp,” said White, whose stepfather retired from Goodyear. “I’m just thrilled to win the contest. I never thought it could happen. I can’t wait to ride it.”

Goodyear’s use of the Wingfoot trademark dates back to 1901, when the company first used it in advertising to promote the launch of its new Straight Side tire, according to company officials. Inspired by a statue of the Roman god Mercury in his home, Goodyear co-founder Frank Seiberling conceived of the idea of using the Wingfoot trademark as a symbol of the company’s global ambitions, according to company officials.

“The Wingfoot symbol has played a prominent role in defining the Goodyear brand for more than a century,” said Paul Fitzhenry, senior vice president, global communications. “The name Wingfoot One makes an ideal connection between our trusted, global brand and our iconic airships.”

The new blimp is in the final stages of flight-testing and will be officially christened in a ceremony next month. After the christening, Wingfoot One will travel the United States, according to company officials.

Wingfoot One is a semi-rigid, Zeppelin model LZ N07-101 assembled at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake airship hangar in Portage County.

During its operational history, Goodyear has built more than 300 lighter-than-air vehicles, including two large rigid airships — the U.S.S. Macon and U.S.S. Akron, according to company officials. This is the first semi-rigid airship to be built in the 95-year history of Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake hangar. The new airship model replaces the previous GZ-20A model that flew for 45 years, company officials said.

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