Have you ever thought how would an airship land on aircraft carrier? This very interesting situation actually happened! On 27 January 1928 the 200-meter-long airship USS Los Angeles landed on aircraft carrier USS Saratoga.
I’ll quote here couple paragraphs from the “DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY — NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER” which also briefly mentions this event.
USS Los Angeles, a 2,472,000 cubic foot rigid airship was built at Friedrichshafen, Germany. Her construction was partially funded by German World War I reparations and was conditional on her being employed for “civil” purposes. Completed in August 1924 under the builder’s number LZ-126, she departed Germany in mid-October 1924 for delivery to the U.S. Navy. After a three day trans-Atlantic flight, the airship arrived at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey, where her hydrogen lifting gas was replaced with non-flammable helium. This greatly increased her safety, but also significantly reduced her payload and range. In late November 1924 she was placed in commission as USS Los Angeles and began several years of flight activity to explore the potential of her type for commercial and Naval use. Between February and May 1925, she voyaged twice to Bermuda and one time to Puerto Rico, and made test moorings to the Navy’s floating airship base, the oiler Patoka.
In June 1925, Los Angeles began an overhaul at Lakehurst, while her expensive helium gas was transferred to the older dirigible Shenandoah (ZR-1). The latter’s tragic loss, on 3 September 1925, produced a temporary shortage of helium, delaying Los Angeles’ return to flight service until March 1926. However, she was actively employed for six years after that, five of them as the Navy’s only rigid airship. During this time, in addition to her normal training and experimental duties, she was used to calibrate East Coast radio compasses, made several cross-country flights around the eastern and southern United States, landed briefly on the aircraft carrier Saratoga and continued her work with Patoka. A unique incident on 25 August 1927, in which she briefly rose tail-high to a near-vertical position while attached to Lakehurst’s tall mooring mast, demonstrated the dangers inherent with this type of facility and led to the adoption of the “stub” mast used for more than three more decades of dirigible and blimp operations.
Being there, I couldn’t resist and downloaded some of the USS Los Angeles pictures – many of them are well known and practically iconic.
Then I suddenly remembered one of my previous posts and did some colouring. Enjoy! 🙂