Monday, September 3, 2012

USS Shenandoah ZR-1

USS Shenandoah  click for photos
  The Shenandoah was the U S Navys first rigid airship.  Constructed at the Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, New Jersey of a frame made at the Naval Air Factory in Philadelphia; the ship was commissioned on August 20, 1923.
  The frame was made of a special alloy of aluminum and copper, the gas cells, that held the helium, was made of goldbeaters skins which where the large intestines of cattle which had been processed.
Goldbeaters skins refers to the use of these skins in the manufacture of gold leaf.
  When ready for service the Shenandoah was 680 feet long, with a beam of 78 feet and a height of 93 feet.  She was armed with six 7.62mm Lewis machine guns and carried 3000 pounds of bombs.
  In 1925 the Navy re-worked the USS Patoka to be the first Airship Service Vessel, that would allow the Shenandoah and others to patrol around the world.  The Shenandoah had already made cross country flights to California and on to Washington to test mooring masts at different locations.
Attached to the USS Patoka AO-9
  On September 3, 1925, while on a cross country flight, Shenandoah encountered a squall front over Noble County, Ohio (Ava, Ohio) and crashed.  Twenty-nine men survived the wreck and 14 crew members, including the Commanding Officer, perished.  Today the schools and a park in Ava, Ohio are named Shenandoah in respect and memory of the lives lost.
The wreckage of USS Shenandoah ZR-1

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