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LuminUS: Stories About Us

Floating on Air

If you were raised in Akron during the latter half of the 20th century, the sight and sound of blimps floating overhead probably hold a place in your childhood mental scrapbook. In FLOATING ON AIR, a new production by Phil Hoffman, lighter-than-air enthusiasts share the fond memories and fascinating history of Akron’s unofficial mascot of the skies.

Eric Brothers, author of When Giants Roamed the Sky, helps to tell the story of these amazing flying, floating machines and how they work.

The blimp’s history is populated by a menagerie of interesting characters like Crazy Legs Johnson, who fell out of an airborne blimp and lived to tell about it, and Walter Wellmen, whose dream to fly a blimp to the North Pole never materialized.

Over the years, the blimp assumed many roles. Its gig in the transportation industry was brought to an end by more efficient means of moving products. During World War II, the blimp served military duty in surveillance. Today, the blimp is primarily a promotional vehicle and the unofficial mascot of Akron’s skies.

A PBS Western Reserve production, 2001.

Educational Resources

Subject Area: Mathematics; Science

Grade Level: Middle School

Download the FLOATING ON AIR teacher guide.