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U.S.S. Macon

 
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U.S.S. Macon - 7/20/2009 7:21:05 PM   
Canoerebel


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I hadn't ever heard of the USS Macon until I happened across an old National Geographic article this weekend. The Macon was an airship that went down off the California coast in 1935. The most unusual thing I learned was that she carried a compliment of F9C Sparrowhawk biplanes (fighters). These were small planes (just 26 feet long with a 25-foot wingspan) that were lowered from the hanger by a "trapeze." They had a max speed of 176 mph. The planes could return to the airship - they were equipped with an iron rod that the pilot would "hook" onto the trapeze and then the plane was raised back up into the hanger.

If this airship hadn't gone down, perhaps she would have continued operating into the WWII years and we'd have something really odd to play with.





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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/20/2009 7:29:08 PM   
jeffk3510


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Interesting....

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/20/2009 8:12:12 PM   
bradfordkay

 

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Yeah... those Sparrowhawks might have been able to catch a Devastator...

The USN did operate several airships in ASW roles off both coasts during WW2. I'm not sure if they made it into AE...

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/20/2009 8:15:57 PM   
bobogoboom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel


I hadn't ever heard of the USS Macon until I happened across an old National Geographic article this weekend. The Macon was an airship that went down off the California coast in 1935. The most unusual thing I learned was that she carried a compliment of F9C Sparrowhawk biplanes (fighters). These were small planes (just 26 feet long with a 25-foot wingspan) that were lowered from the hanger by a "trapeze." They had a max speed of 176 mph. The planes could return to the airship - they were equipped with an iron rod that the pilot would "hook" onto the trapeze and then the plane was raised back up into the hanger.

If this airship hadn't gone down, perhaps she would have continued operating into the WWII years and we'd have something really odd to play with.





doubtful. she would of probobly been converted to helium and sat off the east or west coast hunting for subs like the blimps did. the american and british airship programs were complete disasters that got a lot of people killed.

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/20/2009 8:16:29 PM   
bobogoboom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bradfordkay

Yeah... those Sparrowhawks might have been able to catch a Devastator...

The USN did operate several airships in ASW roles off both coasts during WW2. I'm not sure if they made it into AE...

they were blimps not airships.

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/20/2009 8:20:30 PM   
pasternakski


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bobogoboom
they were blimps not airships.

Well, that's a pretty rigid attitude to take, my lighter-than-air friend.

Yah. The story of the Akron pretty much sums up the success the U.S. had with these craft ... until professional football on T.V. came along...

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/20/2009 8:39:34 PM   
Termite2

 

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They had one of the SprrowHawks at the Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio on display the last time I was there[9 years ago]
Nevermind; it is not there now, it was on loan from the Smithsonian.

< Message edited by Termite2 -- 7/20/2009 8:46:53 PM >

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/20/2009 9:03:42 PM   
bobogoboom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: pasternakski


quote:

ORIGINAL: bobogoboom
they were blimps not airships.

Well, that's a pretty rigid attitude to take, my lighter-than-air friend.

Yah. The story of the Akron pretty much sums up the success the U.S. had with these craft ... until professional football on T.V. came along...

and those are not rigid air ships

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/20/2009 9:22:11 PM   
Xxzard

 

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The US Zeppelin program actually did OK for a while, but clearly it was quite a bit of effort for what it was worth. No airship was lost to a fire, unlike hindenburg, but they were vulnerable to storms, and so one broke in half, another crashed into the sea with considerable loss of life, and of all of them, only one survived to retirement.

It would have been possible for the USS Los Angeles to serve in WW2, but it was taken out of service in 1940, because of the akron and macon disasters, and generally it just wasn't very useful.

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/20/2009 9:37:36 PM   
willy


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It's not a balloon it's an AIRSHIP!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQyrd1BwusQ



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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/20/2009 10:20:24 PM   
Feinder


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Gawd, I can still rattle off  a short bio of Capt. Dale Mabry (he was killed when the Roma crashed).  He was/is the namesake of the Arnold Air Society squadron at the University of Florida (and it was part of our material when we pledged).  Dale Mabry Hwy, a major parking lot (*ahem* thoroughfare) in Tampa is also named for him: altho you can probably count the number of Tampa residents who actually know that, on one hand.

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/20/2009 10:36:26 PM   
rjopel

 

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Well I drive on Dale Mabry every day and I never knew that.

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/20/2009 11:19:06 PM   
m10bob


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Xxzard

The US Zeppelin program actually did OK for a while, but clearly it was quite a bit of effort for what it was worth. No airship was lost to a fire, unlike hindenburg, but they were vulnerable to storms, and so one broke in half, another crashed into the sea with considerable loss of life, and of all of them, only one survived to retirement.

It would have been possible for the USS Los Angeles to serve in WW2, but it was taken out of service in 1940, because of the akron and macon disasters, and generally it just wasn't very useful.



The Los Angeles was the only one actually built by Mr Zeppelin himself.
Tha Akron and Macon were sister ships.

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/20/2009 11:22:52 PM   
bobogoboom


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one of the more expensive and costly wastes of time the us military has be appart of.

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 1:38:03 AM   
wdolson

 

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AE includes airship/blimps, at least the ZPKs.  There are three squadrons.

US airships didn't catch fire because from the mid-20s on, they all used helium.  The Germans didn't use helium because the US controlled the world supply and wouldn't sell it to anybody.  Most helium is created by radioactive decay deep in the Earth.  Alpha particles are helium nuclei (helium atom without the electrons). 

The oil wells in Texas produced a large amount of helium as a by product of oil production.  I'm not sure about modern oil production, but in the first half of the 20th century, it was the world's only source of helium with large enough quantities for industrial applications.

The lifting power of USN blimps/airships was not as good as German airships because hydrogen is much lighter than helium (a hydrogen atom is 1/4 the weight of a helium atom), but since helium is not flamable at all, it's much safer for use in lighter than air craft.

Bill


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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 1:51:59 AM   
Feinder


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quote:

altho you can probably count the number of Tampa residents who actually know that, on one hand.
-F-


quote:

Well I drive on Dale Mabry every day and I never knew that.
-rjopel


Now there's 4 of us!





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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 1:27:18 PM   
AW1Steve


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bradfordkay

Yeah... those Sparrowhawks might have been able to catch a Devastator...

The USN did operate several airships in ASW roles off both coasts during WW2. I'm not sure if they made it into AE...


Yeah , and what were they flying off carriers at the same time? 1936 ? Sparrowhawks were the equivalent. Don't you guys think they would have fitted a Wildcat with a trapeeze?

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 2:43:39 PM   
Canoerebel


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quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve
quote:

ORIGINAL: bradfordkay
Yeah... those Sparrowhawks might have been able to catch a Devastator...

The USN did operate several airships in ASW roles off both coasts during WW2. I'm not sure if they made it into AE...


Yeah , and what were they flying off carriers at the same time? 1936 ? Sparrowhawks were the equivalent. Don't you guys think they would have fitted a Wildcat with a trapeeze?



I doubt it. Hangar space and minimum speeds would have been likely problems. The Sparrowhawk had a wingspan of 25 feet; the Wildcat was 38 feet. Also, as a biplane with a max speed of 176 mph, the Sparrow could probably throttle back to a low enough speed to allow for it to hook onto the trapeze with minimal force (it's min speed wouldn't have been that much faster than the cruising speed of the airship) while the Wildcat, at a faster minimum speed, might have been too jarring for the airship's framework.

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 2:49:44 PM   
pasternakski


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel
The Sparrowhawk had a wingspan of 25 feet; the Wildcat was 38 feet.

Well, and let's not forget that the Sparrowhawk weighed about the same as a coconut, and the Wildcat was a particularly heavy beast. I's a simple matter of weight ratios.

Now, an African swallow...

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 2:56:40 PM   
Canoerebel


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What's your favorite color?

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 3:00:07 PM   
pasternakski


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

What's your favorite color?

long green.

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 3:05:41 PM   
Canoerebel


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Blue!...no, clear!

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 3:13:25 PM   
AW1Steve


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve
quote:

ORIGINAL: bradfordkay
Yeah... those Sparrowhawks might have been able to catch a Devastator...

The USN did operate several airships in ASW roles off both coasts during WW2. I'm not sure if they made it into AE...


Yeah , and what were they flying off carriers at the same time? 1936 ? Sparrowhawks were the equivalent. Don't you guys think they would have fitted a Wildcat with a trapeeze?



I doubt it. Hangar space and minimum speeds would have been likely problems. The Sparrowhawk had a wingspan of 25 feet; the Wildcat was 38 feet. Also, as a biplane with a max speed of 176 mph, the Sparrow could probably throttle back to a low enough speed to allow for it to hook onto the trapeze with minimal force (it's min speed wouldn't have been that much faster than the cruising speed of the airship) while the Wildcat, at a faster minimum speed, might have been too jarring for the airship's framework.


1st . the wildcat started as a biplane. Besides that , you don't feel that removing landing gear and arresting hook would lighten in enough? (Sparrowhawks eventually lost both). And that the frame , when being widened to fit the larger aircraft, couldn't be beefed up? I'm sure trapeze technology , like arresting technology would have had break throughs. After all Non of the CV's of ww2 used Langleys sandbag and wire system. And only four years seperated her birth and Saratoga's.

All I'm saying is that had there been a will, there would have been a way. The bad press of Hindenburg killed the worlds intrest in airships. And technology took another road.

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 4:46:13 PM   
Mundy


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Or, just use an F3F.

M-

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 5:10:05 PM   
pasternakski


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quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve
I'm sure trapeze technology ... would have had break throughs.

I am glad whenever I experience a breakthrough in brassiere technology. And, of course, I have a minor interest in the bicycle seat industry (note in this pic the presence of Ruth "Buzzi" Ginsberg, now on the U.S. Supreme Court).




c'mon you guys, big, slow targets carrying minimal amounts of obolete, poor-performing aircraft were hardly going to supplant, or even augment, the rapidly advancing technology of aircraft carriers and associated strategy and tactics.

About the time a V of Zeros caught up with one of these things, somebody would have rued the day THAT technology was invested in.

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< Message edited by pasternakski -- 7/21/2009 5:13:05 PM >


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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 5:38:13 PM   
Shark7


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quote:

ORIGINAL: pasternakski


quote:

ORIGINAL: bobogoboom
they were blimps not airships.

Well, that's a pretty rigid attitude to take, my lighter-than-air friend.

Yah. The story of the Akron pretty much sums up the success the U.S. had with these craft ... until professional football on T.V. came along...


Let's be honest...the whole Blimp over the Super Bowl success is directly attributable to the fact that Goodyear, and not the US Government, is in charge of the project.


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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 6:00:27 PM   
bobogoboom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: pasternakski

quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve
I'm sure trapeze technology ... would have had break throughs.

I am glad whenever I experience a breakthrough in brassiere technology. And, of course, I have a minor interest in the bicycle seat industry (note in this pic the presence of Ruth "Buzzi" Ginsberg, now on the U.S. Supreme Court).




c'mon you guys, big, slow targets carrying minimal amounts of obolete, poor-performing aircraft were hardly going to supplant, or even augment, the rapidly advancing technology of aircraft carriers and associated strategy and tactics.

About the time a V of Zeros caught up with one of these things, somebody would have rued the day THAT technology was invested in.

agree it was completly useless except for asw(and that was only marginaly efective) and blimps did that better anyways.

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 6:00:53 PM   
bobogoboom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shark7


quote:

ORIGINAL: pasternakski


quote:

ORIGINAL: bobogoboom
they were blimps not airships.

Well, that's a pretty rigid attitude to take, my lighter-than-air friend.

Yah. The story of the Akron pretty much sums up the success the U.S. had with these craft ... until professional football on T.V. came along...


Let's be honest...the whole Blimp over the Super Bowl success is directly attributable to the fact that Goodyear, and not the US Government, is in charge of the project.


and no one is shooting at it.

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 6:01:52 PM   
Canoerebel


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What about Black Sunday? Anybody remember that movie?

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RE: U.S.S. Macon - 7/21/2009 6:39:14 PM   
m10bob


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bobogoboom


quote:

ORIGINAL: pasternakski

quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve
I'm sure trapeze technology ... would have had break throughs.

I am glad whenever I experience a breakthrough in brassiere technology. And, of course, I have a minor interest in the bicycle seat industry (note in this pic the presence of Ruth "Buzzi" Ginsberg, now on the U.S. Supreme Court).




c'mon you guys, big, slow targets carrying minimal amounts of obolete, poor-performing aircraft were hardly going to supplant, or even augment, the rapidly advancing technology of aircraft carriers and associated strategy and tactics.

About the time a V of Zeros caught up with one of these things, somebody would have rued the day THAT technology was invested in.

agree it was completly useless except for asw(and that was only marginaly efective) and blimps did that better anyways.



Blimps were not totally useless. No ship protected by blimps was ever lost.

As for fiction, does anybody remember the old Wallace Beery movie "This Man's Navy" ?..It was a fictional piece about USN blimps taking on Zekes over the Pacific..Apparently the Japanese pilots in the movie had never heard of Frank Luke and they targeted the crew gondola, oblivious to that huge silverish-gray object over it!

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