WTF Fun Fact 13163 – The Goodyear Blimp Redondo Beach Connection

In 1983, the city of Redondo Beach, CA adopted a resolution “recognizing the Goodyear Airship Columbia (aka Goodyear blimp) as the “Official Bird of Redondo Beach.”

What’s the Goodyear blimp Redondo Beach connection?

To many, the Goodyear blimp is simply a novelty or publicity stunt. But some people in southern California have more of a connection to the airships. In fact, the Goodyear ships have even received “get well” cards after they’ve been in accidents.

But nothing tops Redondo Beach’s connection with the Goodyear blimp, or more specifically, the fleet ship known as the Columbia. That’s the official bird of the city.

Rather than act as a simple billboard (after all, we don’t know how many tired the blimp has convinced people to buy), the airships become sights for sore eyes. Even neighborhood mascots. There’s a sense of fun and familiarity when you catch sight of one.

To be fair, it is cool and pretty rare to see a blimp. We’ve just never thought about making one our official “bird.”

The blimps were once used to escort military flights across the Atlantic. Now they’re largely used for aerial shots in live televised events. You can even take a ride in the blimp – and over 1 million people have!

The Goodyear Columbia (later “Eagle”)

In 1984, the Olympics were held in Los Angeles, California. Nearby cities, such as Redondo Beach, would be featured during the games, but wanted a way to stand out. Enter the aerial shots provided by the blimp.

The Goodyear blimps have always provided free video shots in exchange for their own publicity during the events (just count how many times it’s mentioned during the Superbowl). Since Redondo Beach didn’t have any control over how many times the blimp got mentioned in return for aerial footage, they went so far as to honor the specific ship taking footage, the Columbia, by declaring it the city’s official bird a year prior to the event.

Of course, the move made headlines across the nation.

In the early 1990s, the Goodyear Columbia had its name changed to the Eagle and given a new paint job.

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Source: Redondo Beach Meeting Minutes