Taylor Deen, 31, is a senior airship pilot for Goodyear in Carson, Calif.
How did you find yourself piloting a blimp?
After highschool, I attended a pilot coaching faculty in San Diego, the place I bought my non-public pilot license in 2005 and my industrial license in 2007. Then I took a month of coaching at American Flyers in Santa Monica, Calif., to develop into a flight teacher. By the spring of 2008, they provided me a job to show, and I took it.
A yr later, I used to be instructing a category on the bottom when somebody got here in and informed us there was a blimp on a low method. Everybody ran to the window to look at it. We had been solely about 200 toes from the touchdown space. It appeared to fill the sky, and I used to be in awe.
Nearly a yr later, I used to be on the lookout for work and typed “pilot jobs” into Google. This Goodyear job popped up. I joined them in 2011.
What number of pilots are licensed to fly blimps on the planet?
About 40 to 50 pilots are flying fewer than 10 lively blimps on the planet in the present day. Just a few I do know of are girls.
What does it really feel wish to fly in a blimp and to pilot one?
Most individuals evaluate the sensation to being in an enormous cruise ship. It shifts barely with the winds, similar to the impact ocean waves have on cruise liners and different ships.
A part of the thrill is that the gondola — the place passengers sit — has massive home windows, and, hovering at such low altitudes, the views are breathtaking.
As pilots, we’ve got to pay attention to extra than simply the aerodynamics. We use fuel legal guidelines and calculate carry capability primarily based on consistently altering variables equivalent to temperature, stress, passenger weights and gasoline load.
Goodyear’s airships are geared up with the essential instruments all pilots use: fly-by-wire flight controls, digital flight show, Garmin GPS, climate radar, and so on.
We use engines that swivel. This permits us nice maneuverability within the air and the potential to launch and land the airship vertically in addition to to take care of greater cruise speeds.
Can anybody guide a flight as a passenger?
No, we don’t take reservations. We do provide rides to our Goodyear sellers across the nation, and we additionally donate blimp rides to nonprofit organizations for charity auctions.
The vast majority of our time within the air entails offering aerial tv protection of sports activities and leisure occasions, together with N.C.A.A. soccer, the N.F.L.’s “Monday Night time Soccer,” the U.S. Open golf match, N.B.A. basketball and Main League Baseball.
We additionally spend appreciable time touring throughout the nation to get to the occasions we cowl. The highest pace of our blimps is simply 70 knots — that’s 80 miles per hour. So going from my base in Carson to, say, Cleveland for the N.B.A. playoffs in 2017 took seven or eight days with in a single day stops.
Do the tv networks pay Goodyear to shoot the sports activities occasions?
We offer aerial protection in alternate for Goodyear model mentions throughout the programming. Now we have been offering aerial protection since 1955.