“Spirit of Goodyear” Gondola to be Unveiled in WRHS Setting the World in Motion Exhibit
Goodyear’s donation of the blimp passenger compartment will be unveiled at the WRHS History Center on February 25, 2015
CLEVELAND, OH – The Setting the World in Motion exhibit at the WRHS History Center will soon have a newcomer: the donated gondola from the Spirit of Goodyear blimp. The gondola’s unveiling will take place at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at the WRHS History Center.
The gondola, which is the pilot and passenger compartment of the blimp, will be placed next to the recently opened Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel in the exhibit. At 23 feet long and 3,400 pounds, the gondola is now one of the largest artifacts in the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum.
“The addition of this gondola to the Setting the World in Motion exhibit will allow us to continue telling a complete story of the innovators and entrepreneurs of Northeast Ohio’s transportation history,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, President and CEO of WRHS. “The deep ties to Northeast Ohio’s automobile and aviation industries created a natural partnership between WRHS and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.”
Built in 1982, the blimp gondola saw service on three airships, logging more than 41,000 hours of flight during its 31 year history. From 1982-1992, it was mounted on the blimp America based in Spring, Texas; from 1992-1999 it was on the Stars & Stripes in Pompano Beach, Florida; and from 2000-2014 it served the Spirit of Goodyear blimp in Suffield, Ohio. In 2014, the Spirit of Goodyear retired from airship service and received recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records as “The Longest Continuous Use for a Blimp.”
The gondola appeared over some of the world’s largest sporting events such as the Super Bowl in 1990, 1994 and 1995, Major League Baseball World Series games in 1982, 1983 & 1984, The Kentucky Derby, the Daytona 500, U.S. Open tennis and golf, NCAA football, including the Cotton Bowl in 1990, NCAA Final Four basketball and NFL games. In addition, well-known celebrities, such as David Letterman and astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, have flown in the gondola.
The Crawford Auto Aviation Museum of the Western Reserve Historical Society depicts the automobile various stages of development, both on a national and regional level. In includes over 140 antique automobiles, 21 non-car transportation artifacts (motorcycles, bicycles, and boats), 10 aircraft, and 3 carriages and sleighs. The Collection is enhanced further by the WRHS Automotive Marque Files, which include automobile brochures, owner’s manuals, advertisements, and more.
Its automobiles and artifacts are the centerpieces of two major exhibits at the WRHS History Center in University Circle: Setting the World in Motion and REVolution: The Automobile in America.