MetLife Blimp Ride at PGA Championship

By Kevin Doran

Published 08/05 2013 09:08PM

Updated 06/15 2015 12:33AM

If the MetLife blimp is overhead you know there's a major sporting event in town.

Chief Pilot Charlie Smith say people always have questions when he introduces himself.

"Nobody's ever met a Blimp Pilot. There's so few of us they're just interested to see what our job is like." said Charlie Smith, pilot for the MetLife Blimp.

The blimp is 128 Feet long. At rest it weighs 3,000 Pounds.. But when filled with 70,000 cubic feet of helium It's light as a feather.

There are a couple MetLife blimps. We got to ride in Snoopy 1. There's also a Snoopy 2. Each has a crew of 13 and flies about 1500 Hours a year. I was surprised because it feels nothing like being in a plane.

"Flying a blimp is a little bit more like boating. You know you get up there and it's nice and smooth."

Reporters get to do all kinds of fun things on the job.  News 8 Anchor Kevin Doran is leaving Rochester to move closer to his parents in Minnesota.  As he looks back at his favorite stories at WROC TV one of his favorite adventures happened at the 2013 PGA Championship; a ride on the MetLife Blimp!  

When shooting for CBS Sports the blimp is outfitted with a gyro stabilized Camera to zero in on all the action at Oak Hill. The biggest challenge is wind.

"Sometimes it's a beautiful day and all of a sudden you get 20-30 knots. Obviously handling it on the ground in really windy, gusty conditions it's difficult."said Terry White, Crew Chief.

The one downside of traveling by blimp? You can't be in a hurry because you only go 30-35 miles an hour. And you better be prepared for a 10 hour flight.

"Yeah there's no bathroom, there's no heat or AC in board as well. So we're just kind of in the elements," said Smith.

But the view from above us unbelievable!

There's actually going to be two blimps covering the PGA Championship.

The famous Goodyear blimp will arrive in town Wednesday to provide aerial shots for TNT's golf coverage for Thursday and Friday.

The MetLife blimp takes pictures for CBS Saturday and Sunday.

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