This Month in Buoyant Flight History – March

March 1

          1942     The L-T-A Naval Air Station at South Weymouth (near Boston, Massachusetts) is commissioned. It would become home to Blimp Squadron ZP-11. The station had two airship hangars. Hangar One was made of steel. External dimensions were: Length 956 ft, width 259 ft and height 191 ft. Hangar Two was built of timber with a length of 1086 ft, width 297 ft and height 183 ft. Hangar Two was dismantled in the early 1950’s due to the high cost of maintaining the wooden structure. Hangar One was dismantled and sold as scrap in 1967. Click here to see a website dedicated to Blimp Squadron ZP-11.

March 4

          1936     The Hindenburg airship takes its first flight. The 803-foot long hydrogen-filled airship is best remembered for its fiery crash just over a year later in May of 1937 while trying to land at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Read more about the first flight and some of the Hindenburg’s innovations by clicking here.

          1957     A US Navy ZPG-2 airship sets an airborne endurance record of 264 hours and 12 minutes and a non-stop, non refueling distance record of 9,448 miles. Click here to read more about this flight.

March 8

          1917     Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin passes away in Berlin. He was laid to rest in the Pragfriedhof Cemetery in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Click here to see pictures of his grave site.

March 9

          1927     Captain Hawthorne C. Gray, United States Army is credited with an altitude record with a free balloon having reached 28,510 feet. Click here to read more about Captain Gray, a leading balloonist of the U. S. Army.

March 11

          1933     The USS Macon is christened at the Goodyear-Zeppelin Airdock in Akron by Mrs. Jeanette Whitton Moffett, wife of Rear Admiral William A. Moffett, who was Chief of the U.S. Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics. Click here to see pictures and a brief video of the ceremony.

March 23

          1909        Wilhelm and Karl Maybach (father and son) found Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH, a company to build engines for airships. In 1911 the company re-located to Friedrichshafen and the company is renamed Motorenbau GmBH. After World War I in light of the restriction on building airships in Germany, the company turned to manufacture automobiles and motors for them as well as for high speed boats and tanks. In the late 1920’s some of its larger motors were adapted for use in airships such as the LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin, the USS Macon and the USS Akron.