THE USS AKRON: A NAVAL AIRSHIP
Wynette C. Perry
Airframe Structures and Applications
Instructor R. Xavier Koon
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Patuxent River Resident Center
September 27, 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES iii
I INTRODUCTION 1
II HISTORY OF EARLY FLIGHT 2
III HISTORY OF HOT-AIR BALLOONS 3
IV HISTORY OF THE ZEPPELIN 4
V USS AKRON DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION 5
In 1893, the idea of a rigid airship came into creation, but it was not successful until 1900 when, inventor Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin designed and flew the Luftschiff Zeppelin One, also known as the LZ-1. The military showed interest in the Zeppelin and began to have them designed for military purposes. In 1929, the Navy contracted Goodyear-Zeppelin to design and build the USS Akron. The Akron, designed for the purpose of scouting and support to military missions, only operated for 2 years. Although, the life of the Akron was short, during its commission, it completed many successful missions until it crashed in 1933.
CHAPTER 2: HISTORY OF EARLY FLIGHT
Since the beginning of time, man has always been intrigued with the flight of birds. Man’s fascination with the flight of birds stemmed from the way birds soared in the air with minimal effort, so man wanted to experience the same feeling. The only problem was that man and birds were built differently; therefore, they could not fly as birds fly. Many early inventors attempted to emulate the flight of birds by making wings of feathers or light weight wood, then attaching them to their arms to test their ability to fly. These experiments usually resulted in injury or death as people plummeted to the Earth (Ancient Flying Myths). Eilmer of Malmesbury an English Benedictine Monk built some wings, modeled after those of Deadalus (Early Attempts). Deadalus was a Greek god who fashioned wings out of wax and flew out of a prison (DAEDALUS). Eilmer of Malmesbury attached the wings to his hands, jumped off a tower, fell to the ground and broke his legs (Early Attempts). Early flight attempts for humans were unsuccessful, but man continued to figure out this mystifying phenomenon.
In 1485 Leonardo de Vinci began to study flight and how to get a man in the air. During de Vinci’s life, he drew concepts of what he believed was the answer to how man could fly, but the discovery of these drawings came after flight achieving flight. One drawing was that of The Ornithopter flying machine, which was similar to today’s gliders.
In order to operate the machine, the pilot would lie face down on a board in the center of the machine and use its hands and feet to pedal cranks. The cranks, connected to a rod-and-pulley system, caused the wings to flap. Although Leonardo de Vinci would never test this flying machine, it is an icon in early flight history.
CHAPTER 3: HISTORY OF HOT-AIR BALLOONS
In 1783, brothers, Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier invented the hot-air balloon. This invention, based on the idea of constructing an air balloon that would be lifted by lighting a cauldron of paper beneath it, was a success (Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier). In the year of 1782, the brothers used different livestock to test the balloons ability to fly. In 1783, astronauts, Pilâtre de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes became the first people to take part in a...