"Rigid Airships-Not So Rigid..."
May 6, 1937 marked the end of rigid airships when the Hindenburg exploded at Lakehurst, New Jersey. On February 12, 1935, American airship, U.S.S. Macon completed a training mission near the Santa Barbara Islands in California. South of Point Sur, Macon 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 as the ship plunged to the ocean. Prior to the crash, Wiley gave the order to abandon ship and with inflatable 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 survivor's was Lt. Commander Wiley.