When you think of a blimp, you think of two things: the Goodyear dirigible floating poetically above a football stadium like some sort of guardian angel … and the Hindenburg.
Thanks to P-G reporter, Bob Dvorchak, I got to go along for the ride of a lifetime. Bob arranged to let me tag along while he and photographer Matt Freed went up, up and away. Naturally, I was a bit apprehensive about going up. I am not afraid of heights, as long as I trust the object I am either standing on or sitting in. A cartoon I drew in 2006 showing the Iraq war as the Hindenburg kept popping into my head as we headed to the Vandenberg Airport. I doctored it a little for my blog to express the anxiety I was feeling. I would compare it to the feeling I had before going on the Steel Phantom roller coaster at Kennywood for the first time ... if the Steel Phantom had at one time exploded into a ball of fire. For legal reasons I should point out that the good people at Goodyear had nothing to do with the Hindenburg.
The thing you don’t realize when you see the blimp way, way up there is how noisy it is. The engines used to propel the blimp forward are quite loud. The second thing you don’t realize is how much it moves. When we took off the pilot aimed it straight up in the air. When we were coming in for a landing he aimed it straight down at the ground. It looked like we were going to crash into the ground. But it felt like I was watching it in slow motion. Like a special effect in a movie, the second before the plane crashes into the mountain, everything slows way down.
The view was breathtaking. It was a beautiful day and the stadium looked great. Due to security, the blimp is not allowed to fly near the stadium during the Super Bowl, so I felt honored to get an early look. Check out Bob’s story and Matt’s video from inside the blimp.