A 1921 article from THE INDEPENDENT reported on the accident that doomed the dirigible Z-R2 in the skies over the British town of Hull. This British-built R-38 class airship was to be handed-over to the U.S. Navy and had a mixed crew composed of both Yanks and Brits; five of whom survived. Among the dead was Air-Commodore E.M. Maitland (b. 1880):
"The ill-fated dirigible was the mightiest airship ever built, larger than the British R-34, which flew across the Atlantic in 1919... [The Z-R2 measured] 700 feet, just 150 feet longer than the height of the Washington Monument. As fully equipped almost as an ocean liner, she was the TITANIC of the air, and met a TITANIC's fate..."
The the fatality figures of this primary source article contrast greatly with those listed on Wikipedia, however the article lists in some detail additional airship accidents that took place during that same period.
Pieced together from the captain's log as well as various first-hand observations that were called to mind by the 29 surviving crew members, this article presents a blow-by-blow account as to how the U.S. Navy dirigible 'Shenandoah' was overwhelmed by turbulent winds over Eastern Ohio and torn in two.
"As they climbed into the hull, the ship began spinning counterclockwise on its keel, then lifted its nose and shot upward. Girders groaned and wires snapped. Then came a crunching, sickening roar as the girders parted. The ship had broken in two. Another rending crash and the control car plunged earthwards, carrying Lt. Commander Landsdowne and seven other men to their death."
"Just before dark, the $2,450,000 "Macon" had lurched crazily and inexplicably skyward, then had settled stern first into the sea. All but the chief radio operator and a Filipino mess-boy among the eighty-three officers and men aboard had taken to rubber life boats and had been picked up by war ships on Maneuvers."
"All Congress needs to do is announce its refusal to condemn more American seamen to death; to declare that no more funds of American taxpayers will be squandered on these useless gas-bags."
Click here to read about a much admired American aviator who was attracted to the fascist way of thinking...
*Watch Newsreel Footage About the Airship MACON*
This article from a 1937 issue of THE MAGAZINE OF ART addressed the over-all aesthetic appeal of the "Hindenburg". Written by Blanche Naylor, no stranger to all matters involving industrial design of the Thirties and Forties, the article goes into some detail as to the color scheme, upholstery, paintings and the names of the assorted German designers responsible for the beauty of the air-ship. The article is accompanied by seven photographs and one diagram of the public rooms accessible to the "Hindenburg" passenger's.
*Watch a Color Film Clip of the Hindenburg*
1929 saw the creation of the U.S. Navy airship ZMC-2, the first metal dirigible (aluminum alloy) of its kind:
"Heretofore, the trend in dirigible construction has been toward larger and longer ships; the egg-shaped ZMC-2 can withstand the buffeting of the winds much better than her larger and more unwieldy sister ships."
Built by the Aircraft Development Corporation (Detroit), ZMC-2 was in use by the U.S. Navy until her retirement, in 1941.
A NEW YORK TIMES photograph and report on the military dirigible designed by Italian Senator Enrico Forlanini (1848 - 1930). A concise account of the differences between Forlanini's dirigible and the German Zeppelin are listed as well as the speed, altitude and various offensive capabilities. Enrico Forlanini is is best remembered today for his ground breaking work on steam-powered helicopters, hydrofoils and various other aircrafts, such as his 1909 dirigible, LEONARDO DA VINCI.