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Loral GZ-22 Spirit of Akron
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co GZ-22 Spirit of Akron

The Loral GZ-22 (also known as the Goodyear GZ-22) was a non-rigid airship first flown in 1989 and operated by Goodyear as its signature promotional aircraft, registered N4A and named Spirit of Akron.

Originally built for the purpose of demonstrating the modern military capability of airships to the US Navy, the GZ-22 was originally designed by Goodyear but built by Loral after Goodyear withdrew from airship manufacturing. The GZ-22 had a steel framed and composite skinned gondola with a neoprene-impregnated polyester 2-ply envelope filled with helium. The GZ-22 Type Certificate was issued on 31 August 1989.

On 28 October 1999 the Spirit of Akron crashed at Suffield Township, Ohio, when it suddenly entered an uncontrolled left turn and began descending. The pilot and technician on board received only minor injuries when the airship hit trees. The NTSB report 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".

Powerplant: 2 × Allison 250-B17C turboprops, 420 hp (312.2 kW) each
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)
Maximum speed: 65 mph (105 km/h)
Service ceiling: 10,000 ft (3050 m)
Crew: 1
Capacity: 10 passengers


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