USS Los Angeles (ZR-3)

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3)

The USS "Los Angeles" was a rigid airship, designated ZR-3, that was built in 1923-1924 by the Zeppelin factory in Friedrichshafen, Germany, where it was originally designated LZ-126. The airship was given to the United States by the German Government, as it was partially funded by war reparations from World War I.

After World War I, Major Harold Geiger was attached to the Ambassador's staff in Berlin. While in Germany, Major Geiger sent reports to the Chief of the United States Army Air Service on the construction of the ZR-3, and repeatedly urged that the craft, which was later taken over by the Navy, be purchased by the Army. He was on the ZR-3 on its transatlantic flight. []

After a Transatlantic flight to Lakehurst, New Jersey, which made news copy worldwide,Althof 2004 pages 33 to 42] the airship was commissioned in the U.S. Navy on 25 November, 1924 at Anacostia, D.C. with Maurice R. Pierce in command. The airship was also switched over from hydrogen to helium gas, which reduced payload but improved safety.

The aircraft went on to log a total of 4,398 hours of flight, covering a distance of 172,400 nautical miles (319,300 km) traveling all over from places in the Pacific to the Atlantic. It served as an observatory and experimental platform, as well as a training ship for other airships. The length was 656 feet, about 148 feet shorter than the longest Zeppelins.

On August 25, 1927, while tethered at the Lakehurst high mast, a gust of wind caught the tail of the "Los Angeles" and lifted it into colder, denser air that was just above the airship. This caused the lifting of the tail to continue. The crew on board tried to compensate by climbing up the keel toward the rising tail, but could not stop the ship from reaching an angle of 85 degrees, before it finally descended. Amazingly, the ship suffered only slight damage and was able to fly the next day.

It was decommissioned in 1932 as an economy measure, and was re-commissioned for a period after the USS "Akron" crashed in April 1933 although it was soon returned to storage. It was finally struck from the Navy list in 1939 and dismantled in its hangar, ending the career of the longest serving airship. Unlike her sister ships "Akron", "Macon", and "Shenandoah", the "Los Angeles"' career did not meet a disastrous end.


*United States Navy


ee also

* List of airships of the United States Navy


*Robinson, Douglas H., and Charles L. Keller. "Up Ship!": U.S. Navy Rigid Airships 1919-1935." Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1982. ISBN 0-87021-738-0
*Althof, William F. 2004. USS Los Angeles: The Navy's Venerable Airship and Aviation Technology. ISBN 1574886207. Brassey's. [ Google books extract] page 34: "useful load ... forty-three tons", "thirty-three tons of fuel", "range of 5,400 nautical miles", "displaced 87.3 tons"

External links

* [] — The webportal for Zeppelin mail and airship memorabilia
* [ Zeppelin Study Group] — Research group for airship memorabilia and Zeppelin mail
* [ USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) - Navy Lakehurst Historical Society]
* [ of the August 25, 1927 nose stand]
* [ DANFS article on Los Angeles (ZR-3)]

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