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I have a burning need to know stuff and I love asking awkward questions.

Friday, July 21, 2017


Stephen said...

Those were the days...biplanes, those stylish wheels..

CyberKitten said...

But why the hooks on top.......?

Mudpuddle said...

that's so that if one ran out of gas, he could hitch a ride underneath another one... (i don't know, i just made that up...)

CyberKitten said...

@ Mudpuddle: Close!!!

Stephen said...

You may be closer than you think, Mudpuddle. It could be a small plane meant to detach from a larger one, kind of like Chuck Yeager's test plane.

(After some Google-fu, I've confirmed my suspicion and got the plane type...I'll wait and see if anyone knows it off hand ,though!)

CyberKitten said...

The 3 planes are Curtis Sparrowhawks which, in the early 1930's were (with great forward thinking) adapted to be used from an airship as a floating aircraft carrier.

The two rigid airships of the Akron class, Akron and Macon, were built for scouting duties for the U.S. Navy and operational between 1931 and 1933.

Following experiments with launching and recovering small aeroplanes using USS Los Angeles, the US Navy designed Akron and Macon with internal hangars able to house a number of Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk biplane fighters. The fighters were launched and recovered using a "trapeze" mechanism.

With lengths of 785 ft (239 m), Akron and Macon were among the largest flying objects in the world and still hold the world record for helium-filled airships.[citation needed] They were just 20 ft (6.1 m) shorter than the German hydrogen-filled airship Hindenburg.

Akron first flew on 8 August 1931 and Macon followed on 21 April 1933. The Sparrowhawk fighters became operational in September 1932. Akron was destroyed on 4 April 1934 and Macon on 12 February 1935.

During her accident-prone 18-month term of service, the Akron served as an airborne aircraft carrier for launching and recovering F9C Sparrowhawk fighter planes. Akron was destroyed in a thunderstorm off the coast of New Jersey on the morning of 4 April 1933, killing 73 of her 76 crewmen and passengers. This accident was the largest loss of life for any known airship crash.

Macon was designed to carry biplane parasite aircraft, five single-seat Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk for scouting or two-seat Fleet N2Y-1 for training. In service for less than two years, in 1935 Macon was damaged in a storm and lost off California's Big Sur coast, though most of the crew were saved. The wreckage is listed as "USS Macon Airship Remains" on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.