Video Vault: A live blimp ride over Cleveland

The blimp and Chopper 5 Live On Five

CLEVELAND - The benefits to having a worldwide powerhouse like Goodyear headquartered in Akron are numerous; prestige, employment, economic impact to name a few but the company also brings something else to our area – blimps.

In my 31 years here at WEWS there are two things still on my to do list, shoot a story in the Lake Erie salt mines and shoot a story in the Goodyear blimp.

Join me and live vicariously through Paul Orlousky and videographers Rich Geyser, Rick Ridinger and Joyce Seid as we’re live aboard the Goodyear blimp "America" over downtown Cleveland.

Paul interviews pilot John Moran, whose career had taken him over the Super Bowl, World Cup soccer matches and even helped police in Minneapolis chase down a streaker, watch the video for Moran’s explanation.

During the shot, Paul rattles off all sorts of interesting facts about the blimp, but what I found most fascinating were the controls Moran used, foot pedals and a seat-mounted wheel steer the craft.

It’s the early 1980s and Cleveland’s skyline is pre-BP Building and Key Tower.

The technology of the time for doing live TV is not the greatest, but you wouldn’t know it from the quality of this live shot, crystal clear from the blimp and from Chopper 5.

Paul Orlousky worked at WEWS from 1981 until departing for WKYC in 1985. Today, he is at WOIO.

He marveled at the live shot’s clarity wondering, even in today’s digital-high tech world, if it could be duplicated.

Joyce Seid shot from the chopper, the camera was hand-held on her shoulder, no chopper-mounted gyro-cams back then.

Rich Geyser told me Rick Ridinger held a portable microwave antenna out the blimp gondola window to send the signal back to our receive antenna on the Terminal Tower.

I’ve also added the story Paul did for our 11 p.m. broadcast.

Salt mine or blimp ride? Thirty-one years and counting.


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