Light As A Feather, Stiff As Board.

You may, or may not, know that lighter-than-air travel is a low-level, yet consistent interest of mine. I think part of this interest was sparked (ah. no pun intended) by growing up mere miles from the site of the Hindenburg crash. As a child, I would crane my neck in the general direction of the Naval Lakehurst air field any time I found myself at great height, trying to catch a fleeting glimpse of the enormous hangers, built to house zeppelins, blimps, and regular-old airplanes. Actually, I still do this whenever I am home. And when I can spot them, the thrill remains.

  But another part of this interest may have come around because, frankly, airships seem really scary. I start to feel very unsettled thinking about standing before such a large craft.  There is something about monumentality that is very effective, at least on my delicate sense of proportion. Despite having been around and inside the enormous hangers, the feeling of being so thoroughly dwarfed is a difficult one to swallow.

The other night, in bit of digital staring-into-space, I googled images from the largest of the hangers that I grew up in the shadow in: Hanger 1– famed for housing the Hindenburg (which, I have been told, stuck out at least 6 feet at either end of the building.)

Researching this, I found three pretty neat websites:

Airship Research Lab– great illustrated history.

Faces of the Hindenburg– ambitious blog project to catalog the stories of all 36 passengers and 61 crew members on board the Hindenburg’s final flight.

Stereoscopic Images of Lighter Than Air Flight

My favorite image, the ZR3 Los Angeles standing on her nose during a windstorm in Lakehurst, NJ.

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