Providing automotive service in the southwest Virginia since 1968, the family owned Thompson Tire celebrated its 50th anniversary in a big way.

Photo by Lisa Bass
The Goodyear Wingfoot One blimp was at the New River Valley Airport Friday to celebrate local business Thompson Tire’s 50th Anniversary. The blimp could be seen all over the valley throughout the weekend.

The Goodyear tire company’s Wingfoot One airship flew the skies of the New River Valley on August 23rd and 24th. The blimp was tethered at the New River Valley Airport in Dublin.

The Goodyear blimp made a visit on Thompson’s 40th anniversary as well, but this time was different.

The blimp was surrounded by school buses as 3,000 students from Pulaski, Floyd, Radford and Montgomery County schools were invited for tours.

Each school group got to see the blimp up close with a ground tour led by a Goodyear crewmember.

Senior Pilot Jay Perdue explained to fourth graders the history and dimensions Wingfoot One.

“Yesterday was actually fourth year of the blimp’s christening in 2015 by (ABC Good Morning America) reporter Robin Roberts,” Perdue said,

According to the Goodyear website, assembly of Wingfoot One began in March 2013 at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake hangar.

An international team of engineers and technicians from Goodyear and Germany’s ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik worked side by side to complete the build project.

Parts such as the tail fins and gondola were built in Germany and…

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