Blimp Makes Emergency Landing, FAA Investigates
KTEN Local News
Featured Video: Blimp Makes Emergency Landing, FAA Investigates
ARDMORE, OK - A blimp makes an emergency landing just south of Ardmore along I-35 and now the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.
Marvin Polzein built the blimp himself and was flying the blimp above Carter County late Tuesday afternoon. He tells KTEN he'd been flying for several hours that afternoon when he decided to head back to his hanger in Ardmore.
It was at that point Polzein realized a motor mount had come propellersted and cracked his propellor. Polzein says he knew he had to get it on the ground and his only option was in the median of Interstate 35.
"I did not want to put it there," said Polzein, who walked away uninjured. "I did not want to put it there. I didn't have any choice. I wasn't going to land it in the trees. That would be dangerous. I'd get in deep trouble there. And I just couldn't get it over to a spot right here. So the interstate was the only place I could put it."
Traffic along I-35 was shut down while OHP troopers responded to the scene, and witnesses helped Polzein out of the aircraft. The blimp was then re-located to the corner of Highway 70 and Highway 77.
This is not the first time Polzein has had trouble with his blimp. Polzien crashed his blimp in Carter County back in May. He says he's flown the aircraft three times since then, but for now he is going to take a break and put it away until next summer.
FAA officials told KTEN Wednesday afternoon they are investigating the inwhether. They are looking into wheter Polzein was certified to fly the blimp and if the blimp should be classified as a commercial aircraft. The name "Guest Inn", the Ardmore hotel Polzein operates, is printed on the side of the blimp.
FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford says there is a specific pilot's license for operating a blimp and they are now trying to determine if Polzein is certified to fly that aircraft.
OK, here's a thought. What, if any, are the ramifications about the advertisement on the side of the blimp? Could this actually cause the guy a problem with the FAA, since the Amateur-built Experimental category specifies that aircraft in that category are to be built for "educational and recreational" purposes? (I think it's hard to imagine someone undertaking such a huge project just for advertising benefits). If so, then there's literally thousands of other experimental-category aircraft which have some kind of "advertisement" on them, ranging from a small sticker to historical replicas of corporate aircraft of years past, not to mention demonstration aircraft, sponsored record-setters, etc. I do NOT think it's an issue at all, or they'd have cracked down long ago, but I can't help but wonder if the obvious connection between an aircraft like a blimp that's so completely associated with aerial advertising and the homebuilt movement might lead to some kind of negative FAA action here... if nothing else, could it be considered a "commercial" flight activity? (I sure hope not)