In the world of efficiency, let's hear a mumur of recognition for the least efficient.
While driving of the freeway past Carson, Califonrina, I saw the Goodyear Blimp on the downwind leg of the landing pattern. "Oh," said I to the family, "Let's go see the Blimp land." We took an off ramp, drove the surface streets to the Goodyear landing field, parked the car and walked to the fence. By now the Blimp was turning base leg.
We had time to observe the crews' duty room. There were six or eight husky crewmen inside playing cards, drinking coffee and relaxing. The Blimp meanwhile turned onto the final leg toward the airfield.
As the Blimp passed over the airfield fence on final approach a laconic voice came over the loudspeaker: "Air--ship". The crew finished the card game, washed their coffee cups, and sauntered out to the center of the field in time to meet the Blimp, The Spirit of America, as it touched down.
Two husky crewmen grabbed ropes that dangled from the nose of the Blimp and others grabbed handrails on the side of the gondola. The engines slowed to idle and the "Eagle" had landed. Two or three passengers who were waiting mounted the gondola steps, and others dismounted, and some sand bags were passed from ground to airship.
Then the crewmen carried the gondola forward, and then on a signal from the pilots, grunted, "ah-one, ah-two, ah-THREE", and heaved the Blimp, gondola, and passengers into the air in a cordinated six-man shot put. The engines roared and the Goodyear Blimp sped off at a breathtaking ten miles per hour.
The Blimp is surely the least efficient form of transportation in use, but it probably the most charming. It does something no other form of air transport does: It goes slow. It leisurely cruises over neigborhood, woods, and football stadium, a mere 1500 feet high at a pace at which air passengers can see what is going on upon the ground. In fact, when the engines are throttled back, they can hear what is going on below, like dogs barking at the huge shadow that just darkened them at mid-day, children at play, or fans, such as I, cheering "Go, Goodyear Blimp."