Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
USS Los Angeles (ZR-3)
The USS Los Angeles was an 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 a Transatlantic flight to Lakehurst, New Jersey, 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 a observatory and experimental platform, as well as a training ship for other airships.
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-commisioned for a period after the USS_Akron crashed in April 1933 athough 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.
- USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) - Navy Lakehurst Historical Society
- Picture of the August 25, 1927 nose stand
- DANFS article on Los Angeles (ZR-3)
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