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U.S. Navy
Lighter Than Air (LTA)
Blimps, and Dirigibles

Type/Series

Circa

Remarks

DN-1  April 1917 DN (Dirigible Non-rigid 1). 
Built by Connecticut Aircraft Company.
Length 175 feet. Hydrogen capacity 150,000 cu.ft. 
Powered by two Sturtevant engines. Due to overweight one engine later removed.
Type A by implication.
Very limited endurance.
B 1917-1919 B-1 to B-20 (Non-rigid)
Built by Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Goodrich Rubber Company and Connecticut Aircraft Company.
Goodyear: B-1 to B-10. Length 160 feet.  Hydrogen capacity 77,000 cu.ft. 
Goodrich: B-10 to B-14. Length 167 feet. Hydrogen capacity 80,000 cu.ft.
Connecticut: B-15 & B-16. Length 156 feet. Hydrogen capacity 75,000 cu.ft.
Powered by a 100 hp Curtiss OXX-2 or Hall-Scott engine.
Goodyear: B-17 to B-20.
Endurance up to twelve hours, but small and slow.
C Spring 1918 Built by Goodyear Tire & Rubber and Goodrich Rubber Company.
C-1 to C-10. (Non-rigid) Length  192 ft.  Hydrogen capacity181,000 cu.ft. 
Powered by two 125 hp French Hispano-Suiza engines. Max speed 60 mph Cruising speed 45 mph
Endurance approximately 2 days. Range 2,100 miles.
C-5 made unsuccessful attempt to be first across Atlantic on May 15, 1919.
C-7 first Navy airship inflated with helium.
D 1919-1921 Built by Goodyear Tire & Rubber and Goodrich Rubber Company.
Length 198 ft. (Non-rigid) Gas capacity 189,000 cu.ft.
Goodyear: D-1, D-3, D-5 & D-6.  Goodrich: D-2 & D-4. 
Powered by two 120 hp Union engines. Max speed 56 mph.
Endurance of 12 hours.
E & F 1919- Built by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.
Length 162 ft.  (Non-rigid) Gas capacity 95,000 cu.ft. 
E-1 powered by a 150 hp Thomas engine.  Max speed 56 mph.
F-1 powered by a 120 hp Union engine.  Max speed 52 mph.
G 1935-1959 Built by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation
Several G design non-rigid blimps built over the years.  First designed by the Navy 1919 but never built.  
G-1 entered Naval service in 1935. G-2 to G-8 built during WW2. 
Length 192 ft. Gas capacity 196,000 cu.ft.
Originally powered by two Wright pusher engines later models used 220 hp Continental engines.
H 1921 Built by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.
Length 95 ft.  (Non-rigid) Gas capacity 35,000 cu.ft. 
E-1 powered by a 150 hp Thomas engine.  Max speed 56 mph.
J 1922-1933 J-1 to J-4
Built by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.
Length 196 ft.  (Non-rigid) Gas capacity 210,000 cu.ft. 
Powered by a a 150 hp Wright-Hispanos, or 220 hp Wright engine.  Max speed 60 mph.
 

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J-3
ZR-1 1923-1925 SHENANDOAH ZR-1 (Zeppelin Rigid 1)
Built by Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia, PA..  Assembled in Hanger One, Lakehurst, NJ.
Length 680 ft. Helium capacity 2,115,000 cu.ft.
First flight on 04 September 1923.
Last flight 03 September 1925. Broke up in storm over Marietta, OH.
Fourteen of crew the crew of forty-one were lost including CO, Cdr Zachary Lansdowne, USN.
 

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Shenandoah ZR-1
USS Patoka (AV-6)
Newport RI (c1924)

Shenandoah ZR-1
NAS Lakehurst NJ
 ZR-3 1924-1932 LOS ANGELES ZR-3 (Zeppelin Rigid 3)
Built in Germany by Zeppelin Company as LZ-126.  Delivered to US as part of German WWI reparations.
Length 658 ft.  Helium capacity 2,472,000 cu.ft.
Powered by five 500 hp Maybach engines. Max speed 76 mph. Range approximately 6,000 miles.
Longest flight from Lakehurst, NJ to Panama Canal and return.
Decommissioned 30 June 1932. Dismantled in Hanger One, Lakehurst, NJ 1939.
 

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Los Angeles ZR-3
Problems!
NAS Lakehurst NJ

RS-1 1926- Built by Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation.
Semi-rigid airship.
ZMC-2 1929-1941 ZMC-2 (Zeppelin Metal Clad 2)
Built in Detroit Michigan by Aircraft Development Corporation.
Length 150 ft.  Helium capacity 200,000 cu.ft.
Powered by two 300 hp Wright Whirlwind engines. Max speed 70 mph.  Cruising speed 52 mph.
First flight 20 August 1929.  Decommissioned 1941.
Built as a rigid airship but classed by Navy as non-rigid since gas pressure maintained the shape.
ZR-4 1931-1933 AKRON ZR-4 (Zeppelin Rigid 4)
Built by Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation.
Length 785 ft.  Helium capacity 6,500,000 cu.ft.
Powered by eight 560 hp Maybach engines. Max speed 88 mph.
Commissioned 27 October 1931. 
Designed to carry four Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk fighter aircraft.
Lost 03 April 1933 in storm off New Jersey coast. Only three of 76 crew members survived.
ZR-5 1933-1935 MACON ZR-5 (Zeppelin Rigid 5)
Built by Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation.
Length 785 ft. Helium capacity 6,500,000 cu.ft.
Powered by eight 560 hp Maybach engines. Max speed 88 mph.
Commissioned 23 June 1933.
Designed to carry four Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk fighter aircraft.
Lost 12 February 1935 in storm near Point Sur, California.  Two of 86 crew members were lost.
 

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F9C Sparrowhawk approaches retractable trapeze assembly
G 1935-1959 Built by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation
Several G design blimps built over the years.  First designed by the Navy 1919 but never built.  
G-1 entered service in 1935 and G-2 to G-8 built during WW2.
Length 192 ft. Gas capacity 196,000 cu.ft.
Originally powered by two Wright pusher engines later models used 220 hp Continental engines.
K
ZPK
1931- Built by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation
K series as the G series had several designs built over the years. 
K-1 (circa 1931) an enlarged J type. 
Length 218 ft. Gas capacity 319,000 cu.ft. 
Powered by two 330hp Wright engines. 
K-2 built in 1937-8. Goodyear and Navy design.
Gas capacity 404,000 cu.ft..
Powered by two 550 hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines.
K-3 to K-135 various engine configurations and gas capacities. 
K type unmodified following WW2 re-designated ZPK.
ZP2K
ZP3K
ZSG-2
ZSG-3
  Built by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation
K type modified following WW2.
Gas capacity 527,000 cu.ft.
ZP2K, ZP3K re-designated ZSG-2,  ZSG-3 
ZP4K
ZSG-4
1953- Built by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation
K type design modified following WW2.
Length 266 ft.  Gas capacity 527,000 cu.ft.
Powered by two 550 hp Pratt & Whitney engines. Max speed 80 mph.
ZP5K
ZS2G-1
1954- Built by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation
K type designation but highly modified design.
Length 258 ft.  Gas capacity 650,000 cu.ft.
Powered by  two 800 hp Wright Cyclone engines.
L 1937- Built by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation
L-1 - L-22.  L-4 to L-8 from Goodyear commercial fleet.
Length 149 ft. Helium capacity 123,000 cu.ft.
Powered by 145 hp Warner engine.
M 1943-1956 Built by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation.
M-1 to M-4
M-1 Length 310 ft. Helium capacity 625,000 cu ft.
Powered by two 550 hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines. Cruising speed 60 mph.
M-2 - M-4 Length 310 ft. Helium capacity 647,000 cu.ft.
Powered by two 600 hp Pratt & Whitney engines.  
Lift of 10,000 lbs.
ZPN-1
ZPG-1
  Built by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation.
Prototype for N type.
N 1951-1961 Built by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation.
Length 324 ft.  Helium capacity 875,000 cu.ft.
Powered by two 800 hp Wright Cyclone engines. Max speed 90 mph.
ZP2N
ZPG-2
ZPG-2W
1952-1961 Built by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation.
ZP2N re-designated ZPG-2 (1954).  W model for Airborne Early Warning picket duty.
Length 343 ft. Helium capacity 1,011,000 cu.ft.
Powered by two 700 hp Wright Cyclone engines.  Max speed 80 mph. Cruising speed 57 mph.
Record flight of 8,216 miles in 264 hours. Lakehurst NJ to west Africa to Key West FL non-stop.
In service until Navy lighter than air program discontinued on 30 November 1961.
ZPG-3W 1958-1961 Built by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation. W denotes Airborne Early Warning picket duty
Length 403 ft.  Helium capacity 1,516,300 cu ft.
Powered by two 1,525 hp Pratt & Whitney Cyclone engines. Max speed 90 mph. 
Lift of 22,900 lbs.
Largest and last non-rigid airship built for Navy.
In service until Navy lighter than air program discontinued on 30 November 1961.
 

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ZPG-(?)
References:
Cooke, David C., Dirigibles That Made History : New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1962.
Ege, Lennart,
Balloons and Airships : New York, MacMillian, 1970.
Swanborough, Gordon and Bowers, Peter M.,
United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911 : Annapolis MD, Naval Institute Press, 1976.

Suggested reading:
Robinson, Douglas,
"Up Ship!" : Annapolis MD, Naval Institute Press, 1982.
Vaeth, J. Gordon,
Blimps & U-boats : U.S. Navy Airships in the Battle of the Atlantic : Annapolis MD, Naval Institute Press, 1992.

Suggested links:
WW2 Blimps  Squadrons and duties of WW2 airships.
Kite Balloons to Airships...the Navy's Lighter-than-Air Experience  Official Navy history. (Off site)
Navy Lakehurst Historical Society  History of NAS Lakehurst and airships.  Excellent photographs. (Off site)
Moffett Field Museum  History of NAS Moffett Field with West coast airship operations. (Off site)
Navy manned blimp MZ-3A provides R&D 2006-present.  Site 1  and Site 2. (Off site)

 
  
  
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