SILVIS, Il. (KWQC) – Flying 1200 feet above ground, Captain Allen Judd sees the John Deere Classic tournament from a unique point of view. Captain Allen started flying airships in 1966 when he was just 16-years-old. Now, he’s the Chief Pilot of the Snoopy Two Blimp, one of three blimps that captures aerial footage of major sporting events.
“My job is to position the airship in such a way that he [photographer] has the best angle on the ball for any particular shot that we’re trying to cover.”
Captain Allen is able to navigate the blimp so that the photographer on-board is able to capture footage that can’t be seen from ground level.
“This system that’s a provided by MetLife to the PGA is a complete system to bring one camera lens so that people in their homes all over the United States and the world can enjoy the vertical point of view and particularly when a golfer puts a ball in the trees and no ground cameras can see it.”
Allen has flown all over the country for different events but said the John Deere Classic course view is unlike many others.
“You’ve got four cities right among each other with an island that kind of separates all four of them so from up here there’s a lot of different things to see.”
The Snoopy Two operates with the help of a ground crew that includes electrical engineers, mechanics, licensed radio technicians, and riggers. Each MetLife Blimp operation requires five ground support vehicles to move the blimp and crew from one location to another. When the blimp isn’t flying it is stationed at an airport close to the event being covered.