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Did You See It? A Goodyear Blimp Roared Over Monmouth on Monday

Around 6 p.m., an airship noisily passed over the rooftops. Did you get a photo? Post it on this article.

Some people in the northern Monmouth County area stepped out of their homes on windy Monday evening around 6 p.m., drawn to find the source of a mechanical motor sound that kept growing louder and louder. 

There up in the sky, against the slate gray, stormy clouds was a remarkable sight. A big fat Goodyear blimp appeared to be flying low enough to scrape the treetops and cellphone towers. 

"People are not accustomed to seeing something so low," said Goodyear Public Relations Manager Ed Ogden in Akron, Ohio, where the Spirit of Goodyear is kept. "But we can fly as low as 1,000 and 1,200 feet. It's one of the attractions of an airship. You can wave at people, and they can wave back." 

The Spirit of Goodyear is one of three Goodyear blimps. (The other two are based in Florida and California.) The 192-foot long, 55 foot tall blimp was in town for the American League Championship Series baseball game at Yankees Stadium in New York, where it provided aerial images for Turner Broadcast System (TBS.) On Sunday it was grounded.

On Monday the pilots waited for some rainstorms to end before taking off from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Long Island for a relatively short jaunt over to Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ.  On Tuesday it was headed to Somerset Pa. 

The reason why it made such a clackety racket over Monmouth County is because its two 210-horsepower piston engines were "fighting a headwind," Ogden said. "When we went to New York, we probably passed over the same area but there was no wind, so the sound wouldn't have been noticeable," he said. 

Airships can fly anywhere from 1000 to 3,000 feet. Ogden said they are time-tested aircraft with professional in-flight instrumentation, and can be flown at night and in any weather by the pilot. The cabin is the size of a minivan and seats six plus the pilot. The efficient engine runs on aviation fuel and can stay aloft for up to 16 hours. The typical speed is 55 mph. 

"Some people think we deflate them and drive them to their destination, but these are solid aircraft," he said. The Spirit of Goodyear has been flying since 2000, and is estimated to be valued around $3 million, he said. 

gjc October 16, 2012 at 10:46 PM
I heard and saw it in Old Bridge. Considering the dark, stormy clouds, I thought the blimp was in trouble. What a sight!
Kaitlyn Anness October 16, 2012 at 10:58 PM
gjc--me too! It shook my apartment a little, couldn't get a clear picture through the dark clouds, though!
Linda Passarella October 16, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Blimp was laboring and under 50ft and in air for over 2 hours in rain without grounding it.
Linda Passarella October 16, 2012 at 11:27 PM
The FAA and 911 was called at 6:20pm blimp almost landed on Morganville house and hovered its roof for 15min losing altitude coming through already low cloud before continuing on without grounding it immediatley and it had been raining for 2 hours, blimps should be grounded in the rain immediately. People in Morganville house including 83 year old was rushed outside in fear. Not good guys.
Linda Passarella October 16, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Blimp was in trouble almost landed on my house with me and my 83yr old mother in it. I dragged her outside and we both just sat there because I could not run with her. I called 911 to have it grounded and they let him fly further south anyway on his route. They are crazy I even called the FAA and they are looking in to it. Then this article hit the net so they are trying to explain it off. the fact is no blimp can fly in the rain and wind especially under a already low rain cloud filled with water and should never hover over a residential house for 10-15min and under "1000ft '"
Christina Johnson (Editor) October 17, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Interesting. On Patch's inquiry, the Goodyear spokesman said he asked the blimp's pilots about their trip over Jersey and they told him it was not an unusual trip.
Kaitlyn Anness October 17, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Linda--that's unbelievable. Where in Morganville?
Linda Passarella October 17, 2012 at 06:04 AM
Of coarse he would say that. If 911 was called at 6:20pm ordering him out of the sky and away from my house. Also talked to Wingfoot Airship Operations reporting them, also FAA. According to other facts they have had crashes also in the past due to flying in storms. He oqviously was losing altitude because of the rain and also trying to fly under the windy clouds that were already low. Everybody he flew over went outside because of extreme noise from engines that were right above their head and not 1000ft like they are supposed to be. This was not right he could have hurt someone including himself. These blimps are not made for storms and high winds and have no place in the air when it had been raining for over 2 hours already.
Bayratt October 17, 2012 at 10:58 AM
I was on Port Monmouth road in Port Monmouth, when it came over. I made a stop on Ocean ave, everyone was running outside to look. It was VERY low, not 1,000 feet. Maybe about 100 feet up. We all thought it was in trouble and going to crash. It was real loud.
Michael Hemhauser October 17, 2012 at 11:40 AM
We've seen many blimps fly over our neighborhood. This was the first time for the Goodyear blimp
Tom Kazansky October 17, 2012 at 11:49 AM
I was driving down 36 - I am also a pilot - it was at least 1000 feet in the air - most people cannot judge altitude from the ground - The blimp was definitely not at 100 feet while it was in port monmouth - the engine was very loud but the limp was flying directly into headwinds as you could tell by the american flag on the back. I cannot say what happened in morganville but linda sounds like someone that calls 911 when someone drives 30 mph down her street breaking the 25 mph speed limit.
CJay McCann October 17, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Good Year Blimp Over House, Hazlet NJ: http://socialcam.com/v/sLl7VAju
Kaitlyn Anness October 17, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Great video, CJay!
CJay McCann October 17, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Thanks Kaitlyn, happened so fast. Wife and I heard the engines. Was too loud for landscaping equipment ... LOL. Wife and I stepped outside to see what that sound was, and there it was, Amazing Site.
JoAnne Capuano October 17, 2012 at 02:10 PM
I saw it in Keansburg. The little kids in the neighborhood got quite a thrill watching it go by. Rememded me of my childhood when I would see them all the time flying by NYC.
Linda Passarella October 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM
If you are a Pilot you are most likely a friend of Goodyear smarty. If the bllimp was 2 pine trees up thats not even close to 1000 feet. Also he was seen below 1000ft in Hazlet right before he flew here. As a Pilot you should know that in an airship you should NOT fly in the wind and rain under the already low rain clouds.Lets see you take this lightly when you drag your own 83 year old Mother out the door in fear and are still in fear sitting outside with no where to go with her. You obviously are having problems yourself not understanding the situation. Rain, WIND, STORM, no way should blimp be in the air and that low at all. Several witnesses also
Linda Passarella October 17, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Number 1 you are a total....... ! and have no empathy what so ever for a 83 year old woman. Does the word suck eggs do anything for you? number 2 if you are a pilot and feel this is a light situation " I WOULD NOT" suggest anyone fly with you either. Again you must work for Goodyear. They seem to have trouble with fessing up with their problem. In the past they have tried to cover up similar problems when their blimps crashed in bad weather, its ALL OVER THE NET. Do you really want to keep this bull up? You are nuts
Linda Passarella October 17, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Oh also you very unprofessional PILOT....lol. I have a great life and even you cannot frustrate me, only a blimp over my roof can do that.......Have a great day!!!!!!!!!
John Hayes October 17, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Fantastic picture by Janet Olsen Vignes.
Bayratt October 17, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I have only lived in this aera for 6 years. Before I moved here I lived in Hamilton Twp, just outside Trenton. We used to see them all the time at least every 2 weeks or so. But never in my 19 years of living there and seeing them, did I ever see one so low and loud. I understand he was flying into the storms, but it was a little un nerving.
Tom Kazansky October 17, 2012 at 10:14 PM
The video clearly shows the blimp over 1,000 feet. I am a very professional pilot. I have flown thousands of hours, taken off and landed on aircraft carriers and shot down russian migs in my f-14 tomcat. I even won the USN's prestigious top gun award.
Michael O'Kane October 18, 2012 at 02:17 AM
any of your witnesses take a picture?
Michael O'Kane October 18, 2012 at 07:49 PM
could you kindly provide a link of the numerous goodyear crashes that you speak of?

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