MOGADORE, OH (WOIO) - Historic.
All the words I use to describe my once-in-a-lifetime chance to board "Wingfoot Two."
It was a historic flight. Cleveland 19 is the first news crew to take a ride on the airship.
It's a whopper up close and personal, compared to the dot you see in the sky that slowly passes by.
Unveiled in April, the airship glides through the sky. The ride can be compared to a boat and airplane merged together. Smooth, but also up and down as it rides over air pockets.
I was onboard with the pilot, an airship camera operator, along with a Cleveland 19 photographer, and a Cleveland 19 field producer. We all weren't sure what to expect.
Though it looks monstrous like a dinosaur, this aircraft, unlike others before it, is ahead of its time.
First off, it's only the second blimp to have a restroom, seats 12 passengers, and the camera system is used at games all over the Midwest and East Coast televising national events.
The airship was built and is kept at the company's hangar right on the shores of Wingfoot Lake in Mogadore, near Akron.
The new build is 246 feet and is 52 feet longer than "Spirit."
It can pick up speeds of up to 75 mph but can't travel too far. The airship relies on winds to maneuver through the air, only traveling 300 miles max distance before landing.
Chief Pilot of Airship Operations at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Michael Dougherty grew up nearby where the blimp was kept. He started cutting the grass at the airship facility and enrolled in Kent State University's aviation program. Now, Dougherty is the chief pilot watching from the sky instead of on the ground.
Chief Pilot Dougherty took us 14 miles away from Mogadore.
The views were breathtaking, the ride was thrilling and nauseating, but it was a chance of a lifetime that I'd do all over again.
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