A central point of contact between the pilot and the ground crew during flight operations is necessary for consistency in performance. The airships’ Crew Chief fills that need. For a crew member to advance to this position, he or she must have at least five years of relevant airship ground handling operations experience.
The Crew Chief directs the Ground Crew in safe and acceptable preparation of takeoffs, landings, ground handling and masting operations. The Crew Chief maintains and administers schedules for ground operations and personnel such as daily work activities, pressure watches, refueling and general maintenance as necessary, to accommodate the public relations and operational needs of the airship.
The Pilot-in-Charge (PIC) is responsible for all aspects of the airship's operation. The PIC is ultimately responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the airship and, along with the Assistant Pilot-in-Charge (APIC), supervises and directs the training and development of all other pilots, department chiefs and crew members. Based on weather conditions and other circumstances, the decision to fly at any time belongs to the Pilot-in-Charge.
One of the most important jobs of the PIC is to monitor and confirm that Blimp pilot candidates are prepared to safely operate the Blimp. The PIC must hold a commercial Lighter-than-Air (LTA) rating and an instrument rating, and each Goodyear Blimp pilot candidate must successfully undergo and complete a comprehensive Goodyear Lighter-than-Air flight training program to help them successfully pass the Federal Aviation Administration requirements to obtain an LTA airship rating.
The Chief Mechanic (CM) makes certain that the Blimp's systems are in top condition for safe operation and must hold Inspection Authorization and Airframe and Power Plant Certifications. The CM supervises a department of airship mechanics and performs maintenance and repairs of the airship as needed and as required by law. This includes the airframe and power plant, envelope and cabling. The CM supervises the other mechanics in their duties including testing fabric integrity at routine intervals, re-cabling flight controls when needed and engine maintenance, to name a few.
The Chief Mechanic maintains proper records of all maintenance logs for the airship as required by company policy and FAA regulations. Goodyear’s airship fleet undergoes routine, scheduled inspection and overhaul, which the Chief Mechanic is primarily responsible for supervising.
Chief Ground Service Equipment Mechanic
The Goodyear Blimps travel thousands of miles every year. Following them on the ground is a fleet of support vehicles that include a bus, a tractor-trailer unit and two vans. For the new Goodyear blimp, there is a Mack-built mast truck for mooring the airship.
The Chief Ground Service Equipment Mechanic’s (CGSE) main duties are to see that these vehicles are maintained in compliance with DOT and company regulations and standards. This equipment includes gasoline and diesel engines, air conditioning units, mast stake-driving power tools, power haulers for moving heavy parts and pieces, and auxiliary power units. The CGSE has one or more Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications and the skills to supervise other mechanics and maintain a proper automotive shop.
A utility vehicle fully equipped with two-way communications, it is used for crew transportation to and from overnight accommodations while on travel assignments and as a shuttle to take passengers from the airport buildings to the Blimp for the ride of a lifetime.Bus
Primarily used for ground crew transportation and two-way communication with the Blimp during travel operations. The bus contains a complete office where record-keeping and other administrative duties are conducted.Truck
The 18-wheeler's trailer not only contains a powerful generator to provide electricity in remote locations, but also houses maintenance shops where electronic technicians and mechanics maintain the Blimp's systems in top condition when traveling across the country. It stores spare parts and all the necessary equipment for remote setup and operation.
Chief Electronic Technician
The Chief Electronic Technician (CET) supervises a department of electronic technicians who work with communications and navigation equipment, radar, power generation, electrical systems and all wiring systems in the airship. Among these duties are to install, repair and maintain the high definition microwave television equipment used in the airship and on the ground during network telecasts. In addition, the CET supervises or performs maintenance to the electronic sign system, which incorporates message programming and LED board maintenance, as well as maintaining the wiring and electrical systems for the ground support equipment.
The on-air camera work is done by technicians within the Goodyear Blimp operation. To satisfy the high standards of network television, a superior level of technical and creative talent must be cultivated and maintained. The Chief Electronic Technician is responsible for the training and scheduling of each airship camera operator.
The Public Relations (PR) Specialist is the communications representative and planning agent for the Blimp at his or her designated hangar. With a primary focus on generating public relations opportunities at the local and national level, the PR Specialist helps to tactically deploy the airship to televised events, customer-related initiatives and community-based events.
The Airship Public Relations Specialist works to capitalize on media opportunities and partnerships that will lead to positive press for the Blimp and Goodyear. This person also manages a schedule that satisfies a balance of media-, public relations-, and television-related opportunities.
Additionally, the Public Relations team plays a key role in managing the Goodyear Blimp’s social media content and works closely with the Pilot-in-Charge at their base to define a schedule that drives significant value for the Company.