79-Year-Old Aviator Behind Blimp Mishaps
By Nathan Elliott, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A 79-year-old Oklahoman's out of control blimp has been making national headlines after he made a surprise landing on I-35 in Ardmore Wednesday, but that incident wasn't his first blimp mishap.
Marvin Polzien's passion for aviation is as big as his blimp.
"Flying has been in my blood since I was a little boy. I'd go to school and get the encyclopedia out and look at airplanes," Polzien said.
He already owned planes, a powered parachute, and a hot air balloon when he decided to build a blimp. Made from scratch, Polzien's 18-foot airship advertises the hotel chain Guest Inn, which he owns, and like business or life, Polzien's hobby hasn't always gone as planned.
Polzien crashed twice back in May, and a few days later he chased his runaway blimp 80 miles as it floated from Ardmore to Decatur, Texas with no one in it.
On Wednesday the blimp lost a motor and Polzien had to put it down in the middle of I-35.
"Luckily he didn't actually crash. He brought it down into the center median and dropped his ropes so enough people could pull him down," said David Duggan, Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Although Polzien's third flight wasn't exactly the "charm" he was looking for, he said he was thankful most of his aircraft is intact.
"Nobody got hurt. Well my ego, yes, but that can be repaired," Polzien said.
While he plans to give the blimp a rest for now, he admitted he's not grounded for good.
OHP officials said Polzien will not face charges even though his landing stopped traffic. However, the FAA is investigating if he's licensed to fly a blimp, and if it should be a commercial aircraft since his business' name is printed on the side.