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List of airship accidents: Wikis


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Accidents of significant historical importance

  • 1919 American Wingfoot Air Express. Caught fire over downtown Chicago, 2 passengers, one crewmember and 10 people on the ground killed, 2 parachuted to safety.[1]
  • 1921 British R38. Built for US, broke in half and burned after suffering structural failure during high-speed trials over Hull. 44 killed, 5 survivors.
  • 1922 American Roma (ex-Italian T34). Hit power lines in Virginia and caught fire. 34 killed, 11 survivors.
  • 1923 French Dixmude (ex Zeppelin LZ114). Caught in storm over Mediterranean and presumably burned in the air. All of the crew (more than 50) killed. [2]
  • 1925 US Navy USS Shenandoah. Caught in storm over Noble County, Ohio, and broke into several pieces. 14 killed, 29 survivors.
  • 1928 Italian semi-rigid Italia. Crashed on return from successful trip to North Pole. 7 killed, 9 survivors.
  • 1930 British R101. Rushed to completion, dove into ground during rainstorm in France. 48 killed, 6 survivors.
  • 1933 USS Akron. Lost at sea off coast of New Jersey after severe storm. 73 dead, 3 survivors.
  • 1934 Soviet Union W-7 bis.
  • 1935 USS Macon crashed off coast of Point Sur, Monterey, California after sustaining tail damage due to crosswinds. 2 dead, 81 survivors.
  • 1937 German Hindenburg burned on landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey. 35 dead, 62 survivors.
  • 1938 Soviet SSSR-V6 OSOAVIAKhIM - 16 out of 19 crew died after crashing into a mountain 300 km south of Murmansk on a practice flight for an arctic rescue mission.
  • 1960 On 6 July, a US Navy ZPG-3W, crashed into the sea off New Jersey. 18 of the 21 crew were killed.

Recent and/or minor accidents

  • 4 April 1933 US Navy airship J-3 A7382 lost in surf off New Jersey coast with two crew killed while looking for USS Akron survivors.
  • 16 August 1942 Designated Flight 101. The pilots, 27-year-old Ernest Dewitt Cody and 34-year-old Ensign Charles Ellis Adams, were described as being "experienced and reliable." The unmanned blimp drifted inland from its Pacific patrol route, glanced off the beach in the vicinity of Thornton Beach, and released its depth charge onto the ground. Freed of this weigh, but also damaged, it lifted high into the sky and drifted further inland. It crashed to the ground on downtown street in Daly City, CA with no one on board. A number of photos of it drifting were snapped by witnesses on the ground, a prominent sag clearly seen at the center of the blimp as it slowly deflated. The gondola door had been latched open, which was considered bizarre for a mid-flight position, and the safety bar which was normally used to block the doorway was no longer in place. Two of the three life jackets on board were missing, but these would have been worn by the two crew during flight, as regulations required, and Cody's cap lay on the instrument panel. A year after their disappearance Cody and Adams were officially declared dead. The disappearance of the two-person crew of the US Navy blimp L-8 a.k.a. "The Ghost Blimp." The Ghost Blimp mystery was featured in an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.[3]
  • 19 April 1944 - U.S. Navy airship K-133, of ZP-22, operating out of NAS Houma, Louisiana, is caught in a thunderstorm while patrolling over the Gulf of Mexico. Ship goes down and twelve of thirteen crew are lost. Sole survivor is recovered after spending 21 hours in the water. [4 ]
  • 21 April 1944 - Southeast door of blimp hanger at NAS Houma, Louisiana, goes inoperable, is chained open. A gust of wind carries three Goodyear ZNP-K airships, all of ZP-22, out into the night; K-56, BuNo 30178, travels 4.5 miles, crashes into trees, K-57, BuNo 30179, explodes and burns 4 miles from the air station, K-62, BuNo 30184, fetches up against high-tension powerlines a quarter mile away, burns. K-56 is salvaged, sent to Goodyear at Akron, Ohio, repaired and returned to service. [4 ][5]
  • 8 October 1980 The 170-foot EA-1 Jordache blimp, N5499A, leased by Jordache Enterprises Co., crashes at Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst, New Jersey on its maiden flight. With an 0815 hrs. launch, and a flightplan to Teterboro Airport and thence to a Manhattan photo shoot, the airship, weighed down with gold and burgundy paint, reaching 600 feet altitude, begins an unplanned right descending turn, with pilot James Buza, 40, making a "controlled descent" into a garbage dump, impaling the blimp on a pine tree, coming down a quarter mile from the site of the Hindenburg's 1937 demise. Buza, the only complement, is unhurt.[6] According to the NTSB report, the cause was poor design. The pilot also had zero hours experience in the type.
  • 1 July 1986 The experimental Helistat 97-34J crashes at Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst in Lakehurst, New Jersey after completing a test flight, killing one.
  • 4 July 1993 The airship Bigfoot, which bore the Pizza Hut logo crashed on top of buildings in Manhattan. [7].
  • 1 July 1998 Icarus Aircraft Inc. / American Blimp Corporation ABC-A-60, N760AB, encountered severe downdraft on positioning flight from Williamsport, Pennsylvania to Youngstown, Ohio, and was substantially damaged when it impacted trees at 1105 hrs. during uncontrolled descent ~eight miles (~13 km) NW of Piper Memorial , near Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. After being blown from treetop to treetop for about ten minutes, gondola settled in a tree about 40 feet (12 m) in the air and the two pilots exited uninjured and climbed down the tree. Some fifteen minutes later the airship was blown another 900 feet (275 m) before coming to rest.[8]
  • 28 October 1999 The Goodyear blimp GZ-22 "Spirit of Akron", N4A, crashed in Suffield Township, Ohio, when it suddenly entered an uncontrolled left turn and began descending. The pilot and technician on board received only minor injuries when the blimp impacted with trees. The NTSB report claims that improperly hardened metal splines on the control actuators sheared, causing loss of control.[9]
  • 16 June 2005 The Goodyear blimp GZ-20A named the "Stars and Stripes", N1A, crashed shortly after take off in Coral Springs, Florida. No one was injured. Bad weather may have been a factor in the incident.
  • 26 September 2006 The Hood blimp, an American Blimp Corporation A-60, crashed into a wooded area of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. The airship left Beverly Municipal Airport at about 1215 hrs. Shortly after, the pilot started to have problems, and he tried to land on Singing Beach, but instead got caught in some trees near Brookwood Road. The pilot was not injured.


  1. ^ Chicago Public Library Archive
  2. ^
  3. ^ Check Six (May 2008). "The Crash of Navy Blimp L-8". Retrieved 2008-11-17.  
  4. ^ a b Shettle, M. L., "United States Naval Air Stations of World War II - Volume II : Western States", Schaertel Publishing Co., Bowersville, Georgia, 1997, Library of Congress card number 96-070565, ISBN 0-9643388-1-5, page 99.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Associated Press, "Blimp Crashes Near Zeppelin Crash Site", Anderson Independent, Anderson, South Carolina, Thursday, October 9, 1980, page 4A.
  7. ^ New York Times
  8. ^ "Airscene: Commercial Accidents", AIR International, Stamford, Lincs, U.K., September 1998, Volume 55, Number 3, page 142.
  9. ^ NTSB Aviation Accident IAD00LA002


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