Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Press Room
7 September 2006

High-resolution images related to the news release
Ocean expedition explores submerged wreck of historic naval airship USS Macon in NOAA Monterey Bay Sanctuary.

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Image credit: Wiley Collection, Monterey Maritime and History Museum

Like its sister ship, the USS Akron (shown here flying over the city of San Francisco), the USS Macon was a familiar sight across the United States. Thousands of people would turn out to observe the “flying aircraft carrier” conducting training maneuvers. The USS Macon was constructed with a built-in aircraft hangar and a trapeze launch and recovery system to facilitate fighter planes intended to protect the aircraft in war.
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Image credit: Wiley Collection, Monterey Maritime and History Museum

This photograph shows the USS Akron, sister ship to the USS Macon, attached to the mooring mast, which rode on railroad tracks and was used to move the airship to mooring circles at either end of the hangar at Moffett Field. The 785-foot USS Macon was the nation’s largest and the last U.S. built rigid lighter-than-air craft.
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Image credit: Moffett Field Historical Society

The USS Macon first arrived at Moffett Field on October 16, 1933 and was housed at Hangar One. The hangar was designed and built for the Macon and is still in existence today. The RMS Titanic could fit in Hangar One with room to spare at each end of the hangar.
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Image credit: Robert Schwemmer Maritime Library

This photos shows the USS Macon (ZRS-5) under construction at the Goodyear Zeppelin plant in Akron, Ohio in 1933. Designed for a total gas volume of 6,850,000 cubit feet of helium gas and powered by eight 12-cylinder German Maybach engines the airship could cruise at a speed of 76 knots.
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Image credit: Wiley Collection, Monterey Maritime and History Museum

Sparrowhawk bi-planes flying in formation over Moffett Field in the 1930s. The Curtiss aircraft company adapted their F9C-2 Sparrowhawk bi-plane fighters to be used aboard the “flying aircraft carriers.” When the USS Macon was lost off Point Sur on February 12, 1935, the airship went down with four bi-planes.
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Image credit: Wiley Collection, Monterey Maritime and History Museum

Sparrowhawk bi-planes were stored in the USS Macon’s hangar deck. They were released via a trapeze and a harness which lowered the planes through a T-shaped hangar opening in the airship's underside. Retrieving the planes, pilots had to equal their speed to that of the ship and "catch" the trapeze with a hook at the top of the plane.
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Image credit: Chris Grech (c) 2006 MBARI

For this expedition, MBARI's remotely operated vehicle Tiburon will be rigged with custom-made light booms and a downward-pointing, high-resolution camera. This equipment will be used, along with a precision ROV-control system developed at Stanford University, to produce large-scale photo-mosaic images of the seafloor and the wreck site.
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Image credit: (c) 1991 MBARI

This "frame grab" was taken from video footage collected by remotely operated vehicle Ventana during a 1991 MBARI survey of the wreck of the USS Macon. It shows the remains of one of four biplanes that went down with the USS Macon, including the wings and part of the cockpit (now a refuge for fish). At the top of the photo you can see part of the "sky hook," which was used to catch the trapeze on the Macon.
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Image credit: (c) 1991 MBARI

This "frame grab" was taken from video footage collected by remotely operated vehicle Ventana during a 1991 MBARI survey of the wreck of the USS Macon. It shows the cockpit of one of four biplanes that went down with the USS Macon (now a refuge for fish).
Download this image (1.5 Mbytes).


Image credit: (c) 1991 MBARI

This "frame grab" was taken from video footage collected by remotely operated vehicle Ventana during a 1991 MBARI survey of the wreck of the USS Macon. It shows the remains of one of four biplanes that went down with the USS Macon, including the wings and part of the cockpit.
Download this image (744 Kbytes).

Last updated: Apr. 21, 2009