LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The Goodyear Blimp officially arrived at the Lawton Goodyear Plant around 2:00 p.m. Friday and the public is invited to get a close-up view of it.
The views are second to none as you fly at a top speed of around 70 miles per hour The 30-minute flight is truly a once in a lifetime experience.
"That's one of the best parts, being able to share the experience," said Michael Dougherty, Chief Pilot for Goodyear. "It's something that as a blimp pilot, you get to do but with many other areas of aviation with security you don't get to do that. We get a unique, intimate setting to be able to share this whole experience with people and see the smiles on people's faces as they come and the memories we make is one of the best parts of the job."
It was all smiles Monday as crowds gathered around to see the Blimp make its way to Lawton for the first time since 2002.
"We're bringing it from Akron, Ohio where it was built, Goodyear's corporate headquarters is in Akron and all these things are built there. This is one of the stops along the way to get it to our Los Angeles base in Carson, California. Obviously, we have a plant here in Lawton that we're very proud of so we come here and support our associates at Goodyear and the Lawton plant, the folks here in Lawton," Dougherty said.
Dougherty has been flying the Goodyear Blimp for nearly 11 years, making stops all over the world. He said from appearances on daytime television to the biggest sporting events in the world, the Goodyear Blimp has truly been everywhere.
"Some of our folks like watching football, others like chasing NASCAR around so we kind of pick and choose a little bit but I've had the opportunity to see everything from World Series to NCAA Championships. My favorite thing is seeing Fourth of July fireworks. It's very unique to see fireworks. We've been to the big airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and that was really cool too to see an airshow from the air"
The blimp is 246 feet long, which means if you've seen it at a football game, the blimp is actually only 18 yards shorter than the field.
The public is invited to get check out the blimp, though rides are by invite only so you can't just show up and get on. But you can come out to Goodyear and get a close-up view of the blimp while it's on the ground. It will be here until Friday. You can come out any day between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.