Floating Mooring Mast Proposed as Way Station for Airships (Apr, 1923)

Floating Mooring Mast Proposed as Way Station for Airships

CONVINCED that battle fleets of the future will require the aid of rigid airships as long range scouts, aeronautic experts recently have suggested an ingenious method of mooring rigids to the mast of a moving depot ship at sea, as pictured above.

The depot ship, preferably a converted cruiser, has a hangar forward for small fighting planes, with a launching deck from which the planes are seen taking off to protect the rigid as it returns from a trip.

Topping a raised tripod mast is a mooring device to which the airship is anchored, while projecting from each side of the vessel are other tripods carrying guide ropes that hold the airship’s bow in position as its nose cone is hauled down to the mooring device.

Immediately behind the mooring mast is stretched a wire curtain to prevent planes from overrunning the great landing deck seen projecting above the boiler smoke ducts aft. Above this curtain is network to catch the mooring ropes when cast loose.

8 comments
  1. Brett says: March 18, 20085:02 am

    Cool pic, but not very practical, IMHO. Airships were vulnerable enough to high winds on land — what happens when a sudden squall or worse comes along? Scratch one airship! What might have worked would be a giant floating hangar. The airship could be pulled down into it while being refueled and rearmed, relatively safe from the elements.

    I also love the way the ‘aeronautic experts’ who come up with these ideas are never named :) From the markings, however, if they did exist they were probably British.

  2. Hotspur O'Toole says: March 18, 20087:02 am

    Actually the US Navy had not one, but two ships, JUST LIKE THIS.

    Check out the USS Patoka, which was a converted freighter turned into airship tender.

    http://www.hazegray.org…

    Reality, fantasy.. you be the judge!

  3. Don says: March 18, 20087:26 am

    Forbidden
    You don’t have permission to access /navhist/carriers/images/usa/ao9.jpg on this server.

  4. Brett says: March 18, 20087:41 am

    Colour me stupid, Hotspur! You are quite right! The direct link to the pic doesn’t work, but they can be accessed from here:

    http://www.hazegray.org…

    Awesome.

  5. matt says: March 18, 20088:16 am

    Bitchinest way to travel:
    http://www.marriedtothe…

  6. Stannous says: March 18, 20083:46 pm

    Brett-
    Thanks for fixing the link, neat site, thanks.

    SF

  7. K says: March 18, 20084:18 pm

    This is, or was, much more sensible than many ideas of the era. It actually could work with the technology available. Some drawbacks are tolerable to win battles.

    Of course this idea resides in the dustbin of history. The improvements of scout planes made the airship unneeded.

    The Battle of Jutland might have went differently if the Germans had used their land based airships to assess the British strength and location.

  8. Hotspur O'Toole says: March 21, 20084:49 pm

    “The Battle of Jutland might have went differently if the Germans had used their land based airships to assess the British strength and location.”

    In fact, they DID use airships during the battle of Jutland. About midday during the first day of battle LZ 24 overflew the Grand Fleet and attempted to radio back ship positions for Beatty’s squadron. The total misread of intentions of Beatty and company by the 24 contributed to Scheer getting a flawed battlespace picture, and making a somewhat disasterous course change that would bring him into contact with Jellicoe sooner rather than later.

    Sources: http://150.theage.com.a…
    also Beatty’s battle report, which is online somewhere.

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