This Month in Buoyant Flight History – August

August 3

          1904     Captain Thomas Baldwin makes the first 360º flight in an airship in the United States, returning to his point of departure. The flight in Oakland, California was in his California Arrow powered by Curtiss motorcycle engines. Click here to read a November 1904 New York Times article titled “How Baldwins ‘California Arrow’ Navigates the Air”.

August 4

          1908     First test ascent of Baldwin Army Airship SC-1 at Ft. Myer VA. Click here to read about the early years in US Army ballooning and airships. Click here to see pictures of the Baldwin SC-1 Airship.

August 7 – 29

        1929     On August 7, 1929, shortly before midnight, the Graf Zeppelin takes off from Lakehurst Naval Air Station; NJ on what would become the first successful round-the-world airship flight. After 12 days of actual flight time and three stops along the way, the Zeppelin would return to Lakehurst from the West 22 days later. Click here to read about the flight. Click here to see an article published in Modern Mechanics of November 1929.

August 8

          1931     U.S.S. Akron is christened by First Lady Mrs. Herbert (Lou) Hoover at Akron Airdock. Click here to view pictures of the U.S.S. Akron christening.

August 9

          1884     The airship La France makes the first fully-controlled round-trip flight, completing a 5 mile circle in 23 minutes, averaging a speed of 14 mph at Chalais Meudon. The ship was built by Frenchmen Charles Renard and Arthur Krebs, powered by a 9hp electric motor. Click here to read more about this flight.

August 10

          1868      Hugo Eckener, pilot of the Graf Zeppelin for many of its record-setting flights, is born in Flensburg, Germany. Click here to read a biography of Dr. Eckener.

          1906      Mrs. C. J. S. (Mary) Miller becomes first woman to fly in an airship. The flight took place in Franklin, Pennsylvania. Click here to read about C. J. S. Miller and this flight.

August 14

          1954     Dr. Hugo Eckener, of Zeppelin airship fame, passes away in his home in Friedrichshafen, Germany

August 16

          1942     U.S. Navy’s L-8 blimp crash lands, without anyone aboard at Daly City, CA. Click here to read the story of the Ghost Blimp.

August 19

          1863     Count Zeppelin makes his first flight at St. Paul MN, in a tethered balloon flown by John Steiner. Click here to read more about Count Zeppelin’s first flight.

          1929      The U.S. Navy’s first—and only successful—metal clad airship, the ZMC-2, makes its first flight. Click here to read more about the ZMC-2. Click here to read an article published in The Literary Digest of September 7, 1929 about the ZMC-2.

          1939     Last flight of the U.S. Navy’s ZMC-2 metal clad airship.

August 23

          1878     The British use their first ever military aviation budget of £150 to build and fly their first balloon, the Pioneer. Click here to read more about British military ballooning history.

August 24

          1919      The world’s first scheduled airship service launches in Berlin, operated with the Zeppelin LZ-120 Bodensee. Click here to read more about the LZ-120 and its passenger service.

          1921      The British airship R-38 (U.S. Navy’s ZR-2) breaks up over Hull, Yorkshire during its fourth trial flight, killing 44. Click here to read about the R-38/ZR-2.

August 25

          1784     James Tytler, a Scottish eccentric, pilots the first manned balloon flight in England, reaching an altitude of a few hundred feet before landing. Along with his aeronautic skills, Tytler was a surgeon, pharmacist and, perhaps most notably, the second editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Click here to read James Tytler and the Grand Edinburgh Fire Balloon by J. K. Gillon.

          1927     The ZR-3, U.S.S. Los Angeles, does a nose stand while moored at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Click here to see a photographic sequence and description of the event.

August 27

          1783     French inventor Jacques Charles flies the first balloon filled with gas rather than fire-heated air. He achieves this by pouring 489 lbs. of sulfuric acid on 1,000 lbs. of iron. Click here for details of the first hydrogen balloon.

August 29

          1929     Graf Zeppelin sets down at Lakehurst, New Jersey to complete its circumnavigation of the globe.

August 31

1921     The U.S. Navy’s D-6 blimp is destroyed by fire at the Naval Air Station Rockaway in Queens, NY. Click here to read a New York Times article about the loss published September 1, 1921. Click here for an aerial view of NAS Rockville, including the airship hangar.