This Month in Buoyant Flight History – April

April 1

          1942      The Weeksville Naval Air Station in North Carolina is commissioned. Click here for a brief history of the Weeksville Naval Air Station.

April 4

          1933      The USS Akron, the Navy’s 785-foot-long rigid helium-filled airship, crashes off the coast of New Jersey in a violent storm, killing 73 of the 76 men on board. At the time, it was the most deadly aviation accident in history.

Click here for a brief description of the tragic event.

Click here for a 1933 Universal Newsreel about the event (no audio).

Click here for a video of a description of the accident by Cmdr Herbert Wiley, one of the survivors,

April 5

1933      The Navy J-3 blimp crashed while searching for possible survivors of the USS Akron. Two crewmen died.

April 8

          1908     Thomas Baldwin loses his three airships, spherical balloons, workshop and equipment in the San Francisco earthquake and ensuing fire. Click here to read more about Thomas Scott Baldwin’s airships.

April 13

          1963     Don Piccard and Ed Yost piloted the Channel Champ, a 60,000 cu. ft. hot air balloon from the English village of Rye to Gravelines in France, completing the first crossing of the English Channel by hot air balloon. Click here to read about the Channel Champ exhibit at the National Balloon Museum.

April 20

1917     The Navy’s first airship, the DN-1 built by Connecticut Aircraft Corp. makes its first flight. Nine days later (April 29) it makes its third and final flight due to unsatisfactory performance. Click here for a Brief History of the Navy’s DN-1 Airship

April 21

1933     First flight of the USS Macon, in Akron, Ohio. Click here to see pictures of the USS Macon under Construction in Akron, Ohio.