Marooned blimp takes to clearer and drier skies

Posted May 22, 2011, at 11:15 a.m.
Last modified May 22, 2011, at 6:39 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — With brighter skies on the horizon, an advertising blimp that caught the attention of many Mainers during its struggles to leave the Pine Tree State departed Pittsfield Municipal Airport on Sunday morning.

The blimp, with its grand-scale advertisement for Hangar 1 Vodka of California, ascended and headed south Sunday at about 9:20 a.m. Owned by a firm called The Lightship Group, the blimp had been marooned since Wednesday, when bad weather forced it to land at Lincoln Regional Airport. It left Lincoln on Friday but made it only to Pittsfield, again because of rain and low cloud cover.

Blimp driver Bret Viets told the Bangor Daily News that the hop from Lincoln to Pittsfield was one of the shortest blimp flights he’s ever flown. The blimp is headed to Florida to kick off a monthslong advertising campaign that will bring it back up the Eastern Seaboard, across the Midwest and by November to Hangar 1’s distillery, which is located at the former Alameda Air Force Base in California.

The Lightship Group is using a hangar at the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone to inflate and assemble two blimps, including one that advertises Horizon Blue Cross-Blue Shield, which will depart in the coming days.