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Local News

MetLife Blimp Makes Regular Treks Above Santa Barbara County

Santa Maria Public Airport serves as stopover for Snoopy Two airship and its crew

The airship dubbed Snoopy Two touched down this week at the Santa Maria Public Airport for its second visit in four days.

The Met Life blimp took off Tuesday morning after another overnight stay on the Central Coast.

The blimp spent the weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area, where it flew overhead at the Oakland Raiders game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon.

En route to the NFL gig above Oakland, the airship and its crew also spent Thursday night in Santa Maria. 

The route north took the blimp over Santa Barbara, where a crew member snapped an aerial photo and posted it to the MetLife blimp Twitter account.

The frequent visits are attributed to geography.

“I think we are just a convenient location halfway between the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas,” said Chris Hastert, airport general manager.

In addition to convenience, Santa Maria’s airfield boasts plenty of room to provide temporary tie-down for airships, he noted.

Also, past airship crews have cited the hotel adjacent to the airfield as another reason they prefer to stay overnight in Santa Maria.

The Met Life blimp Snoopy Two is silhouetted by the sunset this week near the Santa Maria Public Airport (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Snoopy Two isn’t the only airship to visit. The Goodyear blimp also drops by Santa Maria during its West Coast excursions.

The MetLife Blimp Program began in 1987 and underwent an expansion in 1994, according to the company’s website.

MetLife operates three airships known as “Snoopy One,” “Snoopy Two,” and "Snoopy J,” but all three are the same model.

While Snoopy One primarily remains on the East Coast, Snoopy Two winters on the West Coast, touring above California, Nevada and Arizona, and uses the hashtag #Snoopy2 on social media. 

Together, the two airships combine to travel approximately 120,000 miles a year throughout the United States. Each blimp travels with a 14-member crew made up of two pilots and 12 crewmen.

The primary purpose of the blimp program is providing aerial video coverage of sporting and special events, MetLife officials said.

In a typical year, “Snoopy One” and “Snoopy Two” cover approximately 70 events for a variety of networks.

Snoopy Two has made several trips over the Central Coast in the past few weeks while en route to sporting events.

The blimp visits show the diversity of the Santa Maria airport, Hastert said, adding, “We’re a very capable airport.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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