Feeds

Wreck of 1930s flying aircraft carrier dubbed 'historic'

Captain Scarlet style dirigible Cloudbase honoured

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.