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The Gassiest 2019 College Football Hall Of Fame Inductee Has Been Announced

From the Football Foundation site, this year’s inductees for the College Football Hall Of Fame are:

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According to ESPN, there’s one thing missing from that list though. It’s got excellent coverage, is the gassiest by far, and no it’s not Willie Colon, heh. heh.

The College Football Hall of Fame will also induct the Goodyear Blimp as an honorary member this year. It will be the first non-player or non-coach to enter the Hall.

Is this some big marketing stunt? Did Goodyear pay to get into the Hall of Fame or is this a genuine thing? Either way I went down the usual rabbit hole. From the AP:

The blimp’s flight to fame began during the telecast for the 1955 Rose Bowl Game and has led to it being an eye in the sky at over 2,000 games, hovering above stadiums from coast to coast.

Hall of Fame quarterback Archie Manning said the blimp’s presence “is intrinsically known and tied to the traditions that make college football so great.” Manning is the National Football Foundation chairman.

The Goodyear Blimp was the first to provide aerial coverage of a major sports event and first to deliver high definition live video to a national game.

In case you were wondering (you weren’t), there’s three blimps in the Goodyear arsenal; Wingfoot 1, Wingfoot 2 & Wingfoot 3. The names comes from Wingfoot Lake in Suffield, Ohio, where they’re built and sadly, not a single Blimpy McBlimpface among them.

For an idea of size, Wingfoot 1 is about 246 feet; if it landed on a football field it’d cover over 82% of it. It’s also surprisingly fast (at least in my idea of blimps) at a max speed of 73MPH (..that’s a Cat 1 hurricane or me driving to Wawa for a hangover milkshake).

For a few more facts you can ramble out to impress no one, the plasticy exterior is called the ‘envelope’ & is comprised of polyurethane, polyester and tedlar (like kevlar). The site compared it to a strong spandex that has to be replaced roughly every 10 years, & it requires a special paint made specifically for that material.

If you really want to blow the group away, inform them that “without its lifting gas, an empty Blimp weighs almost 20,000 lbs. Once inflated with helium and after accounting for fuel, payload and ballast, it usually weighs in at 100-200 lbs”. I’ll be honest, I don’t quite understand what that means but assuming the helium just makes it way lighter.

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In 1926, Italian aeronautical engineer General Umberto Nobile was part of a multi-national crew that flew over the North Pole in a blimp. He tried to replicate the trip with his own blimp in 1928 but on the third flight, the airship crashed on the ice. He survived along with seven other men, but 17 were killed.

Did that sad factoid leave you hungry for more info? Yes? (No.) Well here’s some more history on blimps – it started with hot air balloons, the first by some French brothers in 1783. Then Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin of Germany invented the first rigid airship (like the ones used today) containing hydrogen gas-filled rubber bags (it carried five people). And in 1915 “blimp” was first used after a British airman flicked the exterior envelope & said it made the sound, “blimp”. Safe to assume that if he’d heard the sound “flomp” we’d be looking up at the Goodyear Flomp.

By the 1920s blimps were used in advertising, by the military, and for all sorts of stuff, but between 1933 – 37 there were several crashes (including the Hindenburg) which put a stop to the blimp mania for a hot minute. Everything kicked back up in 1941 during WWII, though, when the Navy asked Goodyear to to produce huge blimps to watch over their ship fleets. (Oddly enough, we still use blimps to watch over major bases in Afghanistan, er, at least they were the last time I was there in 2012. Tethered by long ropes, they float over large bases with an array of cameras.)

But now they’re mostly just used to cover sports events, and I’d personally love to go cruising on one at some point. Speaking of, no free ads but nice job on the Hall of Fame, Goodyear! If you need anyone for future rides I know a lady! ::slowly unzips quarterzip I stole from Riggs desk area slightly, even though I have a big t-shirt on under it::

If that doesn’t work out, the personal blimp market is on the rise & I’ve been saving up.