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Goodyear blows up inflatable hangar as new home for airship

CARSON, Calif. >> Morning commuters on a Southern California highway were greeted today by a huge structure that wasn’t there the night before.

In a matter of hours overnight, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. raised a giant inflatable hangar that will be the permanent home of one of the company’s new airships, which replaced its original blimps.

The building standing nine stories and stretching the length of a football field went up along Interstate 405 south of Los Angeles in suburban Carson.

It will house Wingfoot Two, which began flying over college football games in Los Angeles in October. The company says its new airships are easier to maneuver than the original ones.

Goodyear said the hangar, manufactured by United Kingdom-based Lindstrand Technologies and constructed with ultralight high-tech material, is the largest structure of its type in North America. Twenty fans inflated the hangar’s air cells and will maintain pressure.

Wingfoot Two, which is technically a dirigible rather than a blimp, is scheduled to leave its temporary home at Long Beach Airport and arrive in Carson on Friday.

Goodyear has operated the base in Carson since 1968 and plans to mark its 50th anniversary next year.

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