This Month in Buoyant Flight History – September

September 2

          1907      Walter Wellman’s airship America departs from Spitsbergen in an attempt to reach the North Pole, but bad weather forces them to abort the trip. Click here to read more about Walter Wellman, a Polar Pioneer.

September 3

          1925     The USS Shenandoah crashes in Southern Ohio during inclement weather. Fourteen of the forty-three crewmen perished. Click here to read more about the loss of the Shenandoah.

September 5

          1862     Henry Coxwell and Dr. James Glaisher ascend to 29,000 feet (8,840 m) in a gas balloon. They were unprepared for the extreme cold and lack of oxygen they encountered and were lucky to land safely. Click here to read more about H. Coxwell and J Glaisher.

September 9

          1830     Charles Durant, the first of the United States’ great balloonists makes his 1st U.S. ascent at Castle Garden, New York. He stays in the air for two hours, crossing the Hudson River and landing at South Amboy, New Jersey. Click here to see a period illustration of Durant’s balloon.

September 14

          1922     Army C-2 airship departs from Langley Field, Virginia on its first transcontinental flight to Ross Field (Arcadia), California. Click here to read a New York Times article published on September 14, 1922. Click here to read an Army and Navy Air News article.

          1938     The Graf Zeppelin II makes its maiden flight. A number of events, including the Hindenburg disaster and a United States refusal to provide helium to Germany, prevent the most technologically advanced airship of its day from fulfilling its role as a passenger transport. Nineteen months later it would be scrapped. Click here to read more about the Graf Zeppelin II. Click here to see a picture gallery of the Graf Zeppelin II.

           1984      Joe Kittinger embarks on the first successful solo gas balloon crossing of the Atlantic, flying from Carbon, Maine to Savona, Italy where he landed on September 18. Click here to read Col. Kittinger’s “First Flight Shrine”.

September 16

          1919     First flight in the United States of the U.S. Navy’s O-1, an Italian built semi-rigid airship. Click here to read more about the O-1 airship.

September 18

          1997 First flight of the Zeppelin NT. At 7:45 PM, the Zeppelin NT 07 is released from its mast Friedrichshafen, and 40 minutes later lands at the new Zeppelin hangar in Allmannsweiler. This hangar is the largest in Southern Germany, measuring 110 m (361 ft) in length, 69 m (226 ft) in width, and 32 m (105 ft) in height. Click here to see Technical data and pictures of the airship.

September 19

          1783      In a demonstration for King Louis XVI, a sheep, a duck, and a rooster fly up to 1,700 feet in a hot air balloon and return to the ground safely. Click here to read about Early Balloon Flight in Europe.

September 20

          1898     Albert Santos-Dumont makes his first airship flight in Paris. Click here to read an excerpt from Santos-Dumont’s My Airships, where he describes the event.

September 22

          1902      Stanley Spencer flew the first powered aircraft in Great Britain when he took off from the Crystal Palace (London) in his airship. Three hours later he landed 30 miles away west of Harrow. Click here to read more about Stanley Spencer and his Airship N° 1.  

          2003     David Hempleman-Adams becomes the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an open-air, wicker-basket Rozière balloon. Click here to read more about Hempleman-Adams and his adventures.

September 23

          1931     First flight of the USS Akron (ZRS-4) at Akron, Ohio. Click here to read a brief history of the USS Akron and see a photo gallery of the airship.

September 24

          1852      The first flight of a practical, powered airship takes place in France, as engineer Henri Giffard pilots a steam engine-powered ship about 17 miles from Paris to Trappes at 6 mph. Click here to read about Henri Giffard and his airship. Click here to see pictures of a model of the airship on display at the Science Museum of London.