Feeds

Wreck of 1930s flying aircraft carrier dubbed 'historic'

Captain Scarlet style dirigible Cloudbase honoured

New hybrid storage solutions

Disaster off Point Sur

Opinion on the carrier airships' value was still divided when the Macon unmoored at Moffett for her last cruise on February 11, 1935. Earlier damage to her tail fin was still awaiting repair, but such was the pressure for the big ship to prove her value that this was postponed.

The wing of a Curtiss Sparrowhawk fighter at the wreck site of USS Macon

A Sparrowhawk wing photographed underwater at the crash site.

The next day, returning to base, the ship was hit by a storm off Point Sur. Violent crosswinds tore off the previously damaged dorsal fin, causing puctures to the aft gas cells. The tail dropped towards the ocean, and the Macon's captain ordered ballast, fuel and unessential items jettisoned.

The tail didn't strike, but the ship then surged up out of control to 5,000 feet before beginning her last descent. The impact with the sea was relatively gentle, and almost all the crew were able to abandon ship in good order with rafts and lifejackets.

The wreck of the Macon, the Akron before her and the non-carrier ship Shenandoah previously left the USA with just one rigid airship in service. Britain had previously abandoned such ships following the R101 disaster in 1930, and the US now followed suit - though the US Navy continued to operated non-rigid blimps with success through World War II and beyond. Germany stayed the course for a while, but just two years after the wreck of the Macon the Hindenburg went down in flames while landing at Lakehurst, and the day of the mighty rigid airships was over.

Not quite over, perhaps. Apart from ordinary blimps like the Goodyear ones there are still a few airships flying with a rigid structure in their gas envelopes - namely the Zeppelin "Neue Technologie" (NT) ships produced Luftschifftechnik GmbH of Friedrichshafen in Germany, the successor to Count von Zeppelin's original venture. The NT zepps, while nowhere near the size of their illustrious predecessors, have a partial internal structure of glass-reinforced plastic and aramid. This offers better stiffness and links the propulsion, steering and gondola together, making the NTs technically semi-rigids.

Eureka, an NT Zeppelin, is based at Moffett field offering tourist flights. NASA Ames boffins chartered her last year to look for "extremophile" alien-like life forms in the San Francisco area. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.