Goodyear Blimp takes contest winners on unforgettable ride

By Dan Stokes - [email protected]
Eric Weister, of Lebanon, at right, won a Facebook contest to take a ride in the Goodyear Blimp. He opted to take son Andrew and wife Jill as his guests. Jack Williams Tire & Auto in Kingston, a longtime Goodyear dealer, held the contest. The Weisters got their ride Wednesday when the blimp stopped at the Wilkes-Barre/Wyoming Valley Airport. - Dan Stokes | Times Leader
The Goodyear Blimp is shown landing at the Wilkes-Barre/Wyoming Valley Airport on Wednesday. Many people saw the blimp flying over the area throughout the afternoon. - Dan Stokes | Times Leader

FORTY FORT — It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s not Superman, it’s …. the Goodyear Blimp!

The iconic blimp was seen across the area Wednesday afternoon as it touched down at the Wilkes-Barre/Wyoming Valley Airport to pick up lucky passengers and afford them the opportunity to see Luzerne County and the surrounding areas from 1,500 feet above.

Jack Williams Tire & Auto in Kingston held a Facebook contest July 16 asking people to like and share the post and tag people in the comment section who you would like to bring with you for a chance to soar in the skies aboard the Goodyear blimp.

Jack Williams has been a loyal Goodyear provider for over 40 years, and that made the contest possible.

Eric Weister, of Lebanon, won the contest and opted to take son Andrew and wife Jill for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It was a no-brainer that I would take my 11-year-old son and wife with me,” said Eric Weister. “We were just so excited.”

Eric and Andrew did not show any fear after soaring over 1,000 feet in the air.

“It was such an awesome experience,” Eric said. “It really wasn’t scary. It felt like you were in a glider with a little motor.”

He continued: “We had to be seated for the first 1,000 feet. But after that, we could stand and walk around and look outside.”

“The windows were so big in the blimp,” Andrew added. “We saw so much.”

When Eric and his son got off the blimp, other winners had the opportunity to climb aboard as well. Jill Weister, Eric’s wife, was one of them.

“I spoke with the pilot and she told me there was an extra seat available on the next trip,” Eric mentioned.

“I just couldn’t believe the view,” said Jill about her blimp ride. “Everything looked so tiny, the roads, houses and trees.”

She compared her experience to being a passenger on a boat.

“They told us that we should remain seated because the blimp can rock a bit,” she said. “It makes sense because of the winds that you encounter.”

There are three Goodyear blimps based in the U.S., according to the blimp’s website.

Residents flock to see

Since 1917, Goodyear has had a blimp in the sky over many sporting events across the United States, including over the Little League World Series in Williamsport.

“I thought the blimp was here because of the Little League World Series,” said Melissa Zerbe, of Swoyersville. “But they haven’t flown over Williamsport for that event for the past two years so I knew it had to be something special.”

Zerbe said her 7-year-old son Dawson really wanted to see the blimp.

“We drove over to see the blimp but when we first got to the airfield, it was already up in the air,” she said. “So we went to the park before coming back.”

“I begged my mom to come see the blimp,” said Dawson. “It was so cool seeing it land.”

Eric Weister, of Lebanon, at right, won a Facebook contest to take a ride in the Goodyear Blimp. He opted to take son Andrew and wife Jill as his guests. Jack Williams Tire & Auto in Kingston, a longtime Goodyear dealer, held the contest. The Weisters got their ride Wednesday when the blimp stopped at the Wilkes-Barre/Wyoming Valley Airport.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Blimp2.jpeg-1.jpgEric Weister, of Lebanon, at right, won a Facebook contest to take a ride in the Goodyear Blimp. He opted to take son Andrew and wife Jill as his guests. Jack Williams Tire & Auto in Kingston, a longtime Goodyear dealer, held the contest. The Weisters got their ride Wednesday when the blimp stopped at the Wilkes-Barre/Wyoming Valley Airport. Dan Stokes | Times Leader

The Goodyear Blimp is shown landing at the Wilkes-Barre/Wyoming Valley Airport on Wednesday. Many people saw the blimp flying over the area throughout the afternoon.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Image-2-3-1-1.jpgThe Goodyear Blimp is shown landing at the Wilkes-Barre/Wyoming Valley Airport on Wednesday. Many people saw the blimp flying over the area throughout the afternoon. Dan Stokes | Times Leader
Contest winners treated to ride

By Dan Stokes

[email protected]

BLIMP FUN FACTS

• The Goodyear Blimp is made up of 22 parts.

• The fastest a blimp can fly is 53 mph.

• Blimps are made of polyester and rubber.

• A CBS producer paid $1,000 to use the Goodyear Blimp to provide aerial shots for coverage of the 1960 Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.

— Per the Goodyear Blimp website