Category Archives: airship

Just Before Disaster Struck

This is an interesting photograph of the Airship Akron, just before its departure and shortly before its fatal crash.

 

airship disaster

The Doomed Airship Just Before Its Last Flight

Melvin Vaniman

A Photograph of Vaniman with His Cat Kiddo, Who Accompanied Him on Many of His Voyages

The Akron was a dirgible built by pioneering American photographer, inventor, adventurer  and early aviator Chester Melvin Vaniman (1866-1912).

Vaniman built the Akron in an effort to be the first to cross the Atlantic in a dirigible. But on its first attempt the Akron exploded on July 2, 1912, the Akron exploded just off the shore of New Jersey, killing Vaniman and his crew.

 

The picture is interesting, not only because it records some of the final hours of the doomed airship but also because of the crowds that came to see it off. We see an interesting cross section of an America in transition: horse drawn carriages mingle with parked cars and motorcycles, while a giant airship – which would prove to be an evolutionary dead end in terms of aviation – looms in the foreground.