USS Macon (ZRS-5) Crash (1935)

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USS Macon (ZRS-5) was a rigid airship built and operated by the United States Navy for scouting. She served as a "flying aircraft carrier", launching Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk biplane fighters. In service for less than two years, in 1935 Macon was damaged in a storm and lost off California's Big Sur coast, though most of her crew were saved. The wreckage is listed as USS Macon Airship Remains on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Less than 20 ft (6.1 m) shorter than Hindenburg, she and her sister—Akron—were among the largest flying objects in the world in terms of length and volume. Although the hydrogen-filled Hindenburg was longer, the two sisters still hold the world record for helium-filled airships.


💬 Comments
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Check out Wiley's eyes. He's nervous because he's got to know here that the dream is over. Days later FDR said no more money.

Author — Steve Smith

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Wow! thank you so much for posting this video - it's the first audio of Herb Wiley's statements. He was one of three that survived the Macon's sister ship crash off New Jersey on several years earlier. I'd like to link this video to a LTA history site if I could. Many thanks for posting these fascinating historical moving images. Great work!

Author — divisioneight

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I deducate this USN BM Cheif W. Buckley would survived to escape the Hindenburg LZ129 crash as line handeler. I salute all aloft.

Author — Eugene Buckley

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I remember having a plastic model of the Macon/Akron. The vertical stripes above the engines were apparatus designed to collect the exhaust to minimize mass loss as it used up fuel.

Author — skyblazer7

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These airships although huge did not appear too realistic for air travel. Perhaps it did in the 1930's as more of a fascinating air bound wonder than reliable means of travel.

Author — Tarn Sand

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It was actually a joint venture between the Zeppelin Company and Goodyear that was legally known as "Goodyear - Zeppelin". Dr. Karl Arnstein had a role in the ZRS 4 and 5's design. It was a mutual international venture of benevolence overshadowed by the growing filth in the German socialist party.

Author — divisioneight

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The took the heated exhaust and collected condensation from the cooling exhaust and collected it as ballast for the spent fuel. These airships were truly ingenious things in their time.

Author — divisioneight

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Just goes to show that while airships are fascinating they are too vulnerable to winds and weather to be of any real use.

Author — Jules Domes

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I'm confused. I thought there were only 3 survivors and he said '50 survivors coming to shore'? If something can clear this up for me- please do. Thanks!

Author — Sam Debey

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3 gas bags burst and the ship shot upwards, just goes to show, I would have thought with less buoyancy it would sink, there you go.

Author — dave lee

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"Macon (ZRS-5) was a rigid airship built and operated by the United States Navy" and constructed with the help of Zeppelin engineers and powered by German Maybach engines.

Author — rampking1

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I would of never gone aboard on one of those crash traps.

Author — FoundationsofPause

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Yet we strap ourselves packed tightly like sardines into flying gas cans with pressurized tin cans as cabins, racing along at over 400 mph at altitudes of 34, 000 feet where the cold and low pressure would kill you instantly, contrails of pollution in the upper atmosphere and hoping that the "near miss" isn't too bad a common occurrence. No thanks, I'll take a stall speed of zero mph and 3500 feet in any day.

Author — divisioneight

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And yet there were only 13 passangers that died in the Hindenburg crash..airplanes were crashing on a weekly basis..in the 1920's there were dozens of airplanes crashing and only 1 airship accident that caused passager (non military) casualties.

Author — Francisco Carvallo