Loral GZ-22

The Loral GZ-22 (also known as the Goodyear GZ-22) was a class of non-rigid airship, or blimp first flown in 1989 and operated by Goodyear as its flagship promotional aircraft, with civil registration N4A and named Spirit of Akron. This was the only airship of this class ever built.[1]

Role non-rigid airship
National origin United States
Manufacturer Loral Corporation
Designer Goodyear
First flight 1989
Primary user Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
Number built 1

The GZ-22 was designed by Goodyear to demonstrate the possible renewed use of airships to the United States Navy, which had ended airship operations in 1962. After Goodyear withdrew from airship manufacturing, the airship was built by Loral.[1] The GZ-22 had a steel-framed, composite-skinned gondola under a neoprene-impregnated polyester 2-ply envelope filled with helium.[1] At its 1987 rollout, the 205-foot 6-inch long airship was the longest in service.[2] The GZ-22 Type Certificate was issued on 31 August 1989.[3]

On 28 October 1999, the Spirit of Akron suddenly entered an uncontrolled left turn and began descending over Suffield Township, Ohio, crashing into trees and sustaining severe damage. The pilot and technician on board received minor injuries. The NTSB report on the crash identified improperly hardened metal splines on the control actuators had sheared, causing loss of control and identified the probable cause as being failure by the "flight control system manufacturer to meet design (hardness) specifications".[4]

The control car of the Spirit of Akron is on display at the MAPS Air Museum.[5]


Data from [1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 10 passengers
  • Length: 205 ft 6 in (62.64 m)
  • Width: 47 ft 0 in (14.33 m)
  • Height: 60 ft 2 in (18.34 m)
  • Volume: 247,800 ft3 (7,017 m3)
  • Gross weight: 15,000 lb (6804 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Allison 250-B17C turboprops, 420 hp (312.2 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 65 mph (105 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 10,000 ft (3050 m)


  1. Taylor 1996, p. 548
  2. "Blimp Arbourne". Air Progress. December 1987.
  3. "Type Certificate Data Sheet No.AS1GL Lockheed Martin (Loral) GZ-22" (PDF). Federal Aviation Authority. 1 October 1997. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
  4. "Aircraft: Loral Corp. GZ-22, registration: N4A". National Transportation Safety Board. 17 May 2001. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
  5. Elliott, Dave (10 January 2018). "LORAL GZ-22 "SPIRIT OF AKRON"". MAPS Air Museum. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
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