National Affairs: Death of a Gas Bag

Designed for long-range detection of attacking aircraft, the huge (403 ft.) ZPG-3W U.S. Navy blimp made an ideal rescue ship. Its slow cruising speed (30-60 knots) and low operating altitude (under 500 ft.) provided an almost perfect platform for the giant (40 ft., 12,000 lbs.) radar antenna rotating inside the helium-filled gas bag. Its great endurance (up to 95 hours without refueling) promised ample range as it beat to seaward off the New Jersey shore one day last week in search of a racing sloop, overdue on a Bermuda-to-Long Island run.

The big gas...

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