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Slufstuff
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Posted: 7/31/2009 5:15:26 PM
[Last Edit: 7/31/2009 5:17:09 PM by Slufstuff]
I have always been fascinated by the WW2 blimps operated by the Navy. I was fortunate to have served with a crusty old Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force who had served as a flight crewman on blimp patrols along the east coast during WW2. He told some interesting stories, including how his blimp attacked a U-boat in 1943. They did not sink it, but a blimp attacking a U-boat would have been fun to watch. Anyway, I stumbled on some interesting blimp pictures on the net. I thought they might be of some interest here.

Blimps on the ramp at Glynco NAS, GA, during WW2.




Blimps inside the hanger at Glynco NAS.



This is interesting, a staged blimp rescue, if you look closely, you can see the rescued sailor dangling way below the blimp. That would have been a fun ride!


Blimp on an escort carrier.


Blimp crew loading up for a flight.


Not a blimp, per se, but an interesting picture of post World War Two aircraft stored in a blimp hanger. The aircraft to the right are North American SNJ trainers packed in nose to tail, the left side are Curtiss SB2C divebombers.
capnrob97
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Posted: 7/31/2009 5:17:30 PM
Cool pics!
This post is solely the opinion of capnrob97 and does not reflect the views of ar15.com
ampn
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Posted: 7/31/2009 7:43:04 PM
Bump. Cool pics.
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Posted: 7/31/2009 7:46:03 PM
[Last Edit: 7/31/2009 7:48:46 PM by GySgtD]
I spent a bit of time working in the old blimp hangars (looks identical to the ones depicted in the OP) at Tustin, CA.

Quite a few movie scenes and commercials filmed there. Back to the Future, for one.
http://www.placesearth.com/usa/california/orange/tustin_air/tustin_air.shtml
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cmjohnson
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Posted: 7/31/2009 7:48:47 PM
[Last Edit: 7/31/2009 7:49:29 PM by cmjohnson]



They were tiny compared to the Akron and the Macon, which were the rigid airships that those giant hangers were built to house.

The hangars were big enough just for ONE of those monsters, plus a little more.


CJ
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Posted: 7/31/2009 7:48:55 PM
[Last Edit: 7/31/2009 7:52:01 PM by ireload]
Slufstuff here's a link for the Moffett Field in California for more WWII blimps. There's 3 main picture folders that opens to several pages. Enjoy.

http://www.moffettfieldmuseum.org/photos/index.php

Hopefully I'll have the chance to visit the museum when my family and I come up to San Francisco.
Flakchak
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Posted: 7/31/2009 7:49:21 PM
In that first photo, the ramp there is now the driving course at FLETC. That hanger was taken down sometime after 97.
GySgtD
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Posted: 7/31/2009 7:52:05 PM

Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h77000/h77425.jpg


They were tiny compared to the Akron and the Macon, which were the rigid airships that those giant hangers were built to house.

The hangars were big enough just for ONE of those monsters, plus a little more.


CJ

Wow, I've worked over there, too. Right across the I-5 from Miramar. No idea that they had a blimp anything over there, though.


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Slufstuff
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Posted: 7/31/2009 8:38:26 PM
Originally Posted By ireload:
Slufstuff here's a link for the Moffett Field in California for more WWII blimps. There's 3 main picture folders that opens to several pages. Enjoy.

http://www.moffettfieldmuseum.org/photos/index.php

Hopefully I'll have the chance to visit the museum when my family and I come up to San Francisco.


Thanks for the link, very interesting pictures!

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Posted: 7/31/2009 8:40:22 PM
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Posted: 7/31/2009 8:41:10 PM
I wonder what has been going on with diridgables lately. Would be pretty neat to see massive cargo carriers made with modern materials and know-how. Helium, though, not hydrogen.
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Posted: 7/31/2009 8:41:35 PM
They always seemed to me like a good idea for sub defense in coastal waters at least during calm weather. They can hang there for hours, have a great vantage point and can easily drop ordnance on top of any surfacing sub. Of course, they're a damn big target too.
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Posted: 7/31/2009 9:00:00 PM
Some company in Europe was looking at Airships for heavy-lift to remote areas - oil exploration, mining, building refineries and pipelines. Things where you need heavy equipment in a remote location but it's not economical to construct airports or rail lines just for one project.

I think it died when oil prices fell.
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Posted: 7/31/2009 9:10:14 PM
Originally Posted By Matthew_Q:
I wonder what has been going on with diridgables lately. Would be pretty neat to see massive cargo carriers made with modern materials and know-how. Helium, though, not hydrogen.


There have been a few efforts for a resurgence over the past decade, but nothing's really stuck yet. The military was at one point looking into lighter than air cargo movers - effectively a hybrid blimp/helicopter. Logic being that if the lighter-than-air component is lifting the weight of the airframe, then the vast majority of the power being generated goes directly towards moving the cargo.

As to helium, even the German Zeppelins were intended to use helium when designed - problem was the only source for helium at the time was in the US, and we weren't supplying the Germans with it for political reasons.
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Posted: 7/31/2009 9:22:25 PM
Originally Posted By Matthew_Q:
I wonder what has been going on with diridgables lately. Would be pretty neat to see massive cargo carriers made with modern materials and know-how. Helium, though, not hydrogen.


Yep-carbon composite frames and advanced polymer skins and air bladders could make them worth a try again.
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Posted: 7/31/2009 9:24:38 PM
Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h77000/h77425.jpg


They were tiny compared to the Akron and the Macon, which were the rigid airships that those giant hangers were built to house.

The hangars were big enough just for ONE of those monsters, plus a little more.


CJ


Hell, the Akron launched parasite fighters, and that's fucking awesome.
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GunnyG
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Posted: 7/31/2009 10:47:28 PM

Originally Posted By WinstonSmith:
Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h77000/h77425.jpg


They were tiny compared to the Akron and the Macon, which were the rigid airships that those giant hangers were built to house.

The hangars were big enough just for ONE of those monsters, plus a little more.


CJ


Hell, the Akron launched parasite fighters, and that's fucking awesome.

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Next Installment: 1935, The Army takes over Moffett Field...
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Posted: 7/31/2009 10:55:06 PM
Tag for home.....
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Posted: 7/31/2009 10:57:33 PM
Very cool!
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Posted: 7/31/2009 11:05:43 PM
I used to see those as a kid living in Coronado CA, and maybe around NAS Millington TN. Also used to see a lot of aircraft constantly overhead that are now just museum pieces, if any of them were preserved at all. Few examples of the planes I saw daily are still flying, mostly AD Skyraiders and T-28 Trojans.

I love the smell of prop planes in the morning. That gasoline smell. It smells of...............victory.


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Posted: 7/31/2009 11:17:26 PM
[Last Edit: 8/1/2009 12:39:15 AM by GunnyG]
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Posted: 7/31/2009 11:24:34 PM
I grew up living right next door to Moffet and it was very sad to see the change in the city of Mountain View going from a really conservative orchard/military community to the cesspool of ganstas and illegals it is today.

They just sold off the last orchard and are devoloping it with Mc Mansions, I am all for free market but the flood of illegals has caused the need for housing to explode in my area.

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Posted: 7/31/2009 11:28:59 PM
Well, this thread just got 100% more awesome.
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Posted: 7/31/2009 11:32:59 PM
Since we're on the topic and most people have never seen these......

ARinKCMO
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Posted: 7/31/2009 11:43:09 PM
Tag. Airships are just so.....damn cool. Very Metropolis-like, almost like a different, parallel history or something. But they were real!

Was The Macon the one that went down in a storm, and they recently found the wreckage, including some of the biplanes? Or was that another one?
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Posted: 7/31/2009 11:50:06 PM
They still use one of the hangars in Tustin for blimps on occasion too.
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Posted: 8/1/2009 12:36:13 AM
Originally Posted By Matthew_Q:
I wonder what has been going on with diridgables lately. Would be pretty neat to see massive cargo carriers made with modern materials and know-how. Helium, though, not hydrogen.


I heard recently that we're running out of helium. Had to pick up a tank of the stuff for a project at work, and the guy selling it said that the US has an 11 year supply left. Anybody know anything about that?
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Posted: 8/1/2009 1:07:36 AM

US Navy Blimp, BUNO 167811, an American Blimp MZ-3A Airship.

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Posted: 8/2/2009 12:19:15 AM
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Posted: 8/2/2009 12:48:19 AM
I had the opportunity to visit the one in MCAS Tustin. They said when an A-4 flew through it in the early 70's, the pilot was active duty going in and a veteran coming out.
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Posted: 8/2/2009 12:55:53 AM
It's a fact that no convoy guarded by a blimp ever lost a ship to a u-boat.

It's also a fact that one blimp's crew mysteriously disappeared and the unmanned blimp crashed into Daly City, California. Daly City is just south of San Francisco and a bit north of Menlo Park and Sunnydale.
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Posted: 8/2/2009 12:59:17 AM
There's a really cool air museum in tillamook OR in one of those hangars.
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Posted: 8/2/2009 1:02:06 AM
I've never understood the purpose of those things. They're big, slow moving balloons. The normal sized ones can't carry any cargo, and the ones that are big enough to carry cargo are so enormous that and slow that they make perfect targets.

Seriously, what good is a blimp?
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Posted: 8/2/2009 1:14:01 AM
Originally Posted By motown_steve:
I've never understood the purpose of those things. They're big, slow moving balloons. The normal sized ones can't carry any cargo, and the ones that are big enough to carry cargo are so enormous that and slow that they make perfect targets.

Seriously, what good is a blimp?


They aren't terribly useful for military purposes anymore, as UAV's have taken over the role they occupied, but there are plenty of commercial uses for them. I've always wondered whether they would make good cold weather cargo delivery vehicles; i.e the antarctic, or carrying supplies to high altitudes that helicopters couldn't reach easily like mountain ranges.
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Posted: 8/2/2009 1:14:09 AM
[Last Edit: 8/2/2009 1:18:02 AM by GunnyG]

Originally Posted By motown_steve:
I've never understood the purpose of those things. They're big, slow moving balloons. The normal sized ones can't carry any cargo, and the ones that are big enough to carry cargo are so enormous that and slow that they make perfect targets.

Seriously, what good is a blimp?


Think of it as an early precursor to the P-3 Orion, as an antisubmarine warfare/antishipping warfare observation platform, with a wickedly long loiter time on station, that was also able to drop ordnance if the occassion permitted.

It could sit in a cloud bank, with a gondola car suspended beneath, to observe undetected.

In a more modern setting, the border patrol has been using unmanned balloons to hoist sensor arrays over the southern border. No crew, low cost to operate, what could be better?
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Posted: 8/2/2009 1:39:33 AM

Originally Posted By 4v50:
It's a fact that no convoy guarded by a blimp ever lost a ship to a u-boat.

It's also a fact that one blimp's crew mysteriously disappeared and the unmanned blimp crashed into Daly City, California. Daly City is just south of San Francisco and a bit north of Menlo Park and Sunnydale Sunnyvale.


Fixed.
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Posted: 8/2/2009 1:45:09 AM
Originally Posted By capnrob97:
Cool pics!


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Posted: 8/2/2009 1:49:22 AM
[Last Edit: 8/2/2009 1:56:16 AM by Houstons_Problem]

Originally Posted By motown_steve:
I've never understood the purpose of those things. They're big, slow moving balloons. The normal sized ones can't carry any cargo, and the ones that are big enough to carry cargo are so enormous that and slow that they make perfect targets.

Seriously, what good is a blimp?

They were good for killing submarines.

They could match speeds and see real good.

They weren't in terrible danger of being shot down by subs. One was shot down, but it is not the same as shooting a plane down. A sub shot it down with guns, the blimp floated for hours and all but one of the crew were saved.

They were used into the 50's for ASW and patrol.
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Posted: 8/2/2009 1:58:41 AM
[Last Edit: 8/2/2009 2:00:52 AM by FrankSymptoms]
They would launch & recover biplanes with them as well. The blimp could fly at just over the biplane's stall speed. The blimp would drop a hook, and the airplane would fly a metal donut into the hook, then kill his engine; he'd then be hoisted aboard.

Aircraft serving on a blimp would have their landing gear removed to save air resistance; when they returned to base, they'd reattach the gear and fly home while the blimp followed, much as aircraft on a carrier do nowadays.

I wonder what has been going on with diridgables lately. Would be pretty neat to see massive cargo carriers made with modern materials and know-how. Helium, though, not hydrogen.


There is a hybrid blimp-helicopter design in use by logging companies. The gas bag cancels the weight of the helicopter, so the entire chopper's lift can be used to lift stuff.
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