Lighter Than Air

April 2, 2019

Airships are lighter than air craft whose history goes back to mid-nineteenth century France and comes to a screeching halt after 1937. Learn more about what makes air ships such a unique part of aviation history in our latest Flight Deck Podcast episode!

Joshua Carver, a student in our Museum Apprentice Program who’s in his freshman year at Embry-Riddle University, created a fascinating presentation about airships as part of his apprenticeship at the Museum. During this time, he learned all about dirigibles, explosions, and how an aircraft carrier could fly back in 1931. Joshua traces airship history back to France in the mid-nineteenth century: “Balloons really were the posterchildren of France . . . they were the first country use balloons in combat.” Soon enough, balloons appeared on Civil War battlefields in the United States and were reborn in Germany as zeppelins, created by none other than Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin. By the time World War One erupted, the Germans developed their Zeppelins to bomb and surveil the UK. And while the zeppelins weren’t the most accurate war machines, they did fulfill the goal of psychological warfare: the British never knew where the zeppelins would be or where the bombs would drop. But airships in the US never quite succeeded militarily, as seen in the example of the USS Akron and the USS Macon.

Learn more about the Museum Apprentice Program to get involved in fun Museum projects!

And don’t forget to explore more amazing World War One artifacts via our Digital Collections.

Host: Sean Mobley
Producer: Keny Dutton
Web Master: Layne Benofsky
Content Marketing Manager: Irene Jagla

Topics: WWI, Airships, Zeppelin

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