The Akron and her sister ship, the Macon have the honor of going down in history as the world's only fully functioning aerial aircraft carriers. These ships, though marvels of the day, were both underdeveloped technically and obsolete at the same time. Even though the age of the front line zeppelin was over, these two monsters were built to hopefully fill a perceived void in the U.S. military. Now the the airplane could handle the role of "heavy bomber", a role that the zeppelin relinquished in late WWI, the zeppelin needed a new job in the art of war. Because of its size, the zeppelin would be an easy target if it encountered enemy forces, thus it would need a formidable deterrent. The new zeppelin's deterrent would also be its reason for entering the battle field. These new airships would carry several new "sparrow hawk" fighter planes (a newly cutting edge biplane fighter designed for the navy) in a ventral docking bay and hanger. These planes, it was thought, could both prove ample protection for their parent ship but also could scout for enemy forces where no other friendly scouts could reach. It sounded like a very good plan for the day. Airplanes were still hampered by pitiful ranges and the airship aircraft carrier would provide the ultimate mobile base on the new, modern battlefield. It was a glorious vision

Left: A great shot of one of the great ships retrieving what may be a sparrowhawk fighter or an older plane used for testing the launch and recovery system on the big ships. You can just barely make out the "U.S. NAVY" painted on the ship's side and the U.S insignia can be seen to good advantage forward of the control car.
Right: The squadron insignia for the Macon pilots.

Launched in September of 1931, the Akron was a technical marvel and more importantly, it was a truly American ship. Unlike the LZ 127 Los Angeles, which was built in Germany and then sold to the U.S., this was an American endeavor and was viewed with much pride by those who had built and designed her.The Akron had many design differences from her German built cousins. To begin with, she had less structural bracing than most German ships. The design team for the Akron viewed the German ships as too heavy and unnecessarily reinforced. One of the major differences that is immediately obvious is its internally mounted engines. Because the Akron was filled with nonflammable helium, it was safe to put the power plants internally which made servicing them easier and had the added bonus of making the ship more streamlined and thus, faster. Its eight props were built on outriggers on either side of the