Goodyear "Pilgrim" Gondola


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Goodyear "Pilgrim" Gondola

Collection Item Summary:

Collection Item Long Description:

Goodyear Airship Pilgrim

In the mid-1920s the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, built a fleet of small civil airships that were used to demonstrate the value of lighter-than-air flight and to train future airship pilots. One of those airships - the Pilgrim -- was the first ever designed for inflation with helium. It first flew at Akron, Ohio, on June 3, 1925 with pilot Jack Yolton at the controls. It flew with helium for the first time on July 17, and was christened on July 18 by Mrs. P. W. Litchfield, wife of the president of Goodyear. By the time the Pilgrim was retired on December 30, 1931, it had made 4,765 flights, carried 5,355 passengers, flown a total of 2,880 hours, and covered 153,000 kilometers (95,000 miles).

The gondola, or control car, had a magnesium-coated steel-tube framework covered with thin metal sheeting. It could accommodate the pilot and two passengers in the comfort of blue mohair velour upholstered seats with mahogany finished veneer.

Gift of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company

Length: 4.4 meters (14 feet 6 inches)

Width: 1.1 meters (3 feet, 9 inches)

Height: 1.7 meters (5 feet 9 inches)

Weight: 987 kilograms (2, 175 pounds)

Balloon Envelope: 1,157 cu m (55,000 cu ft) helium

Range: 845 km (525 mi) at 64 km/h (40 mph)

Fuel Capacity: 151 L (40 gal)

Engine: Lawrence L-4, 60 hp, 3-cylinder, air-cooled; Reed four-blade propeller

Manufacturer: Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Akron, Ohio, 1925

Inventory Number


Physical Description

Metal enclosure with plexiglas windows, painted silver with blue and yellow stripes; wood paneled interior with pilot's seat and 2 passenger seats; 3 cylinder radial engine, 4 bladed propeller.

Credit Line

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company

Country of Origin

United States of America



Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum