Pat Shingleton: The Last of the Airships
May 6, 1937, marked the end of rigid airships when the Hindenburg exploded at Lakehurst, New Jersey. In February, 1935, the U.S.S. Macon completed a training mission near the Santa Barbara Islands in California. South of Point Sur, it experienced squally weather and attempted to avoid a developing storm. Lt. Commander Herbert Wiley ordered a maneuver when a wind gust jarred the airship's top fin. Efforts to control the ship were futile and it plunged to the ocean. Prior to the crash, Wiley gave the order to abandon ship and with life vests and rafts and warm water temperatures, all but two of the 83-member crew survived. Its sister ship, Akron, crashed two years earlier killing 73. One of the survivors was Lt. Commander Wiley.