Madam Satan (1930) boarding the zeppelin
Look at this.
They did this without ANY computers.
This image was featured on an article called "The Most Astounding Airships, Dirigibles, and Zeppelins".
The article itself is fantastic, but when I got to the above picture, all sorts of alarm bells started going off in my head.
It claims to show the ZRS-4 USS Akron, the ZR-3 USS Los Angeles, and two other ships.
First thing I notice is that the USS Los Angeles has its name emblazoned very prominently on the forward of the ship. As far as I know, the US Navy’s rigid airships carried their name towards the tail of the ship, as seen in THIS PHOTO.
Even worse, the “ZRS-4” depicted here looks absolutely nothing like the USS Akron that was built by the Goodyear-Zeppelin company.
Most obvious is the fact that the gondola of the “ZRS-4” in this picture is obviously of a completely different shape from that of the Akron.
As seen in THIS PHOTO, the Akron has a very short, stubby gondola containing only control apparatus, but the one in the photo in the i09 article has an elongated gondola which seems like a larger version of the gondola of the LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin, and would presumably contain “passenger” accommodations or something comparable.
Even more questionable is the engine configuration on the “ZRS-4” from the i09 article.
Ships built with the intention of using hydrogen as a lifting gas, such like the USS Los Angeles, the Graf Zeppelin, and the Hindenburg, had externally mounted engine cars to prevent the risk of the combustible gas igniting.
The US built USS Akron and USS Macon, made to fly with helium, had internal engine rooms, and a unique propeller configuration that allowed for enhanced maneuverability of the ship.
THIS PHOTO shows a good close up of the USS Akron’s propellers, and its extremely easy to tell that the engine configuration seen here has absolutely nothing to do with what’s seen on the “ZRS-4” from the i09 article.
Only nine trans-oceanic rigid airships were built, and the ship posing as the USS Akron in the i09 image does not appear to match a single one of them.
The only conclusion I can come up with is that the image seen on i09 was some kind of promotional image for Goodyear-Zeppelin, perhaps for a pamphlet or press kit or something similar, which included an artist’s conception of what the yet-to-be-built ZRS-4 might eventually look like when completed, and the artist imagined a ship with external engine cars as per German practice, and a design that resembled an elongated Graf Zeppelin. (I’d even go as far as to speculate that the unbuilt LZ-128 might have looked rather like the ship from the i09 article)
I think the fact that the ship is identified in the image only as ZRS-4 rather than USS Los Angeles supports this.
But I’m no airship history expert, this is just my educated guess after having read a few books and perused a few websites on the subject.
If anyone can give me some more concrete information regarding the image in question, and why the “ZRS-4” featured there looks absolutely nothing like the actual ZRS-4 USS Akron as seen in photographs and film footage, please chime in!
Packard and Graf Zeppelin ca. 1929 (by kitchener.lord)
Note the BLIMP in the background for a sense of scale as to how freaking gigantic the Graf Zeppelin was.
United States Post Office building of the 1930s, featuring the steam ship, rigid airship, and steam locomotive, all high technology at the time.
The coolest part is on the inside, there’s a HUGE photograph of the space shuttle Atlantis in orbit over earth.
It’s an honor sending mail through this building.
It could use a steam cleaning though.
I was just put in my place by @AirshipEureka on Twitter for doubting her sentience. Sorry ma’am.
Go ahead and savor that brief shining moment where large rigid airships were taken for granted as a form of current transportation.
At the same time this has an oddly almost mythological tone to it.
Today is the 76th anniversary of the first flight of the LZ-129 Hindenburg, the largest aircraft in human history.
I know I wouldn’t have even been allowed to ride it if I lived back then, shut up.
The last thing Hugo Eckener wanted was for his airships to become flying billboards for the Nazis. He outright denounced the Nazis as criminal thugs well before they came to power and long before it became fashionable or safe for him to do so.
He was even considered a favorite to run against Adolf Hitler.
I say all this just to clarify, I’m not glorifying the Nazis or their authoritarian legacy of fear, violence, and mass murder by commemorating the airship Hindenburg.
More than anything its the fault of the Nazi’s that the Hindenburg was destroyed and rigid airships vanished forever.
Look at my epic library haul of books!
I’m officially a student again, so I’m finally allowed back in the campus library!
The library’s aviation section has a whole freaking shelf of airship and ballooning books! This is hugely cool because most modern aviation schools don’t even begin to take lighter than air aviation seriously due to that thing that happened in New Jersey a few years ago.
Yeah, I’ve got a fun year ahead of me.
Oh, and there’s something especially awesome about the balloon book on the right there, but I’ll maybe share that with you tomorrow!