Rigid Airships (ZRS 3,4+5), airborne aircraft carriers: Naval Aviation History (part 2)

Early Naval Aviation in the United States was a time of innovation and fantastic ideas. My personal favorite was the Rigid Airship Aircraft Carriers of the early 1930s. Essentially blimps that carried and operated fighters from within. USS Akron (ZRS-4) and USS Macon (ZRS-5) were the USN’s airborne Carriers. USS Los Angeles, (ZRS-3) was a captured German Zeppelin from WWI. It was outfitted with the trapeze system to test launch and recover of the Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk in 1930. After the successful testing the system was removed form the USS Los Angeles. Note the end of the video; the aircraft had no landing gear.

aircraft_hooking_onto_USS_Akron,_May_1932

F9C_Sparrowhawk

The Akron and Macon successfully operated with their aircraft before both were lost to storms at sea. The Akron off of New Jersey and the Macon off the coast of Northern California. With their destruction the concept died. Recently both have been discovered where they lay on the oceans bottom.

The concept was based on being a long range picket or scout platform. Not an attack platform. What an amazing time for Naval Aviation! This is what I try to capture in my books; Project 7 Alpha and Vengeance and very soon End Game in the Pacific.

chip

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