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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  • by Anonymous on Dec 21, 2009 at 01:50 PM
    Thats the great thing about FAA regs, you ask one fed a question and get an answer. You could then ask another fed the same question, and get a completely different answer then the first one. Is it an ultra light, is it a lighter then air, blah blah blah, it doesn't take away from the fact that the guy has dissrupted the public each time he takes it airborn. Can we at least get him a ride in the goodyear blimp so we can get him educated on the proper procedures of blimp operations.
  • by Aqueducts 4 sale Location: Ada on Dec 20, 2009 at 09:56 AM
    Let's here it for all seniors and their relentless pursuit to achieve their dreams!
  • by Me Location: Ardmore on Dec 19, 2009 at 12:44 PM
    I'm sorry.....he needs to be grounded before he kills somebody. If he wants to kill himself, fine.. but he has no right to kill someone else....and that is what will happen if he continues.
  • by sure leonard Location: there on Dec 18, 2009 at 08:56 PM
    if that is true leonard then why is the faa looking into this?
  • by Leonard Location: FL on Dec 18, 2009 at 01:00 PM
    Mr. Polzien was within the law when he flew his experimental ultralight blimp in Ardmore. Here's the FAA REG about licensing pilots and certifying ULTRALIGHT blimps. Please do a corrective story. Part 103.7 Certification and registration. (a) Notwithstanding any other section pertaining to certification of aircraft or their parts or equipment, ultralight vehicles and their component parts and equipment are not required to meet the airworthiness certification standards specified for aircraft or to have certificates of airworthiness. (b) Notwithstanding any other section pertaining to airman certification, operators of ultralight vehicles are not required to meet any aeronautical knowledge, age, or experience requirements to operate those vehicles or to have airman or medical certificates. (c) Notwithstanding any other section pertaining to registration and marking of aircraft, ultralight vehicles are not required to be registered or to bear markings of any type.
  • by MadHatter Location: Sherman on Dec 18, 2009 at 12:57 PM
    Send out the Drones and blow his blimp outta the air ... that'll teach him to follow the FAA rules !
  • by Mork Location: Ork on Dec 18, 2009 at 12:48 PM
    FAA Certificate? Pilots Licenses? Bi-annual what? Hey, I bet Wilber and Orval Wright didn't have any of these and they did pretty well, aye?
  • by Anonymous on Dec 18, 2009 at 09:34 AM
    If I was 80yrs old and had a blimp I would fly that thing everytime I could!!!
  • by Willy Location: On the ground. on Dec 18, 2009 at 09:21 AM
    I say give him a reality TV show.
  • by J Location: Denison on Dec 18, 2009 at 07:56 AM
    Let the old man fly!
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