Ardmore pilot's latest incident could ground blimp for good

By: Austin Wright Email
By: Austin Wright Email

ARDMORE, OK -- The pilot who landed his homemade blimp near Interstate 35 Wednesday evening could be grounded by the FAA after it was discovered he hasn't fulfilled some vital requirements to take off. Austin Wright has more.

Marvin Polzien says he does not have a current pilot's license, nor does he have a valid medical certificate. While representatives with the FAA wouldn't speak on camera today, they did tell us both of those things are required to fly.

On Wednesday evening hundreds watched as a blimp piloted by a local man flip flopped across the sky over Ardmore.

Its pilot, 79-year-old Marvin Polzien, says he brought the blimp down near the freeway last night because a motor that helps steer the blimp failed.

"I had three alternatives on how to land that thing. One was in the trees- that was not an option. Next one was in the median on the interstate, which is not good, and the third option which is to just take it up and let the wind blow me northwest of Ardmore," Polzein said Thursday.

Polzien says it's back to the drawing board to try and figure out what it's going to take to get this thing to fly.

"I discovered that my design is faulty this blimp, so it's back in the shed now and I'm just going to can it now until next summer," Polzein says.

But after the members of the FAA showed up this afternoon wanting to see Polzien's pilot's license and medical certificate, which he couldn't produce, his blimp could be grounded be for good.

In order to operate an airship, it must first be certified with the FAA and its operator must have at least a private pilot's license.

Also working against him is that fact this is not the first time he's had to make an unscheduled landing. He crashed another home made blimp last May. That same blimp also floated away the next day and managed to make it all the way to North Texas with no one in it.

His response then is much like his response now.

"I know myself. I'll get back on it again. I'll make the corrections, and we'll try it again."

But that decision is up to the FAA, and is the one part of this flight that's still up in the air.

As a professional pilot myself, I can tell you that two things need to happen before the FAA gives Polzien's next test flight the go ahead is the blimp must receive some kind of airworthy certification and Polzien needs to attend a biannual flight review test which will make his old pilots license valid again. Also, depending on the certification the blimp receives, if it receives one at all, will determine whether he'll not need a aeromedical certificate in order to fly it.


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