The Spring 2013 issue of The L-T-A Society’s publication, Buoyant Flight, commemorates the 80th anniversary of the loss of the US Navy dirigible USS Akron and the launch of her sister ship, USS Macon. The issue explores the contrast in feelings of joy and
exhilaration in christening a new airship with the shock and grief
brought by the tragic loss of her Akron-built predecessor, all within the span of a few weeks in March and April 1933.
American history scholar, Dr. Robert E. Hunter, examines the local and national context for these emotional two months in airship history, and helps us to relive the Macon’s christening on March 11.
Rick Zitarosa, Navy Lakehurst historian, recounts events on the tragic night of April 3-4, as news about the crash of the USS Akron led to another, less well-known airship tragedy. The loss of navy blimp J-3 during a rescue attempt added two more names to the Akron’s death toll of 73.
Author John J. Geoghegan writes about the promise of the USS Macon. While her “birth” was clouded by the loss of the USS Akron, she continued to receive national attention and became a public favorite.
Also included: an Akron-Macon Timeline and Spotter’s Guide for identifying the airships in photos.
News from around the world of lighter-than-air flight.
Click here to join The L-T-A Society to receive the bulletin and read more!
USS Macon Christening Documents in Color
(Click on thumbnails to view larger image)
Additional Images not in the Print Edition
The US Navy insignia salvaged from the envelope of the blimp J-3. There were two such insignia: one under the airship’s bow and another on the very top of the gasbag (likely the one shown). Color photo courtesy Rick Zitarosa.
USS Macon mooring at Naval Air Station Sunnyvale, Calif., after flight from NAS Lakehurst, NJ, 15 October 1933. (Source: National Archives 80-CF-4167-7) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
USS Macon docked in hangar at NAS Sunnyvale, Calif., 15 October 1933. (Source: National Archives 80-CF-4163-9) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
USS Macon in flight, NAS Sunnyvale, Calif., 28 October 1933. (Source: National Archives 80-CF-4163-15)
Leaving mast, 20 March 1934. USS Macon in flight a few seconds after the command“Up Ship”was given. (Source: National Archives 80-CF-4167-15) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
A ‘Virtual’ ZRS-5 USS Macon Photo Album
A selection of vintage snapshots showing the construction through christening and first flights of the USS Macon.