Determining that its newer and larger airships would be better served tethered to a specialized truck when not in the air-- rather than moored to the ground as had been its earlier Blimps-- Goodyear turned to Mack to build a specialized truck to handle the unique and critical job.
The Mack Granite model now deployed to secure and haul the iconic airships is one of a kind. According to the truck builder, the Granite’s strong frame “easily manages harsh work conditions and offers the muscle and finesse needed to haul mammoth loads as treasured as the Goodyear Blimp.”
Mike Bloom of Rochester, MN-based Nuss Truck & Equipment, worked with Goodyear on design options for the special Granite. The truck needed to move Blimps in and out of hangars and provide ground support when not in the air-- all while standing up to wind loads of as much as 90 mph.
The tri-axle 2014 Mack is powered by the OEM’s MP8 engine. It was also spec’d with Mack 200 Series carriers with inter-axle locking differentials and four Goodyear G278 MSD tires in size 425/65R22.5 on the front paired with eight G572 LHD tires in size 11R24.5 “to get the job done.”
Engineered Chassis Systems, a Nuss Group subsidiary, built the truck’s body, converted it to an all-wheel drive 8x8 and installed twin steer axles. The Mack Vehicle Option Center installed a Tireboss tire-pressure control system on the drive axles.
“The innovation associated with the new mast truck allows us the capability to efficiently operate the airship,” noted Brad Crombie, Goodyear global engineer.