Disasters: Replay of a Tragedy

Replay of a Tragedy

History repeated itself in the skies over Lakehurst, N.J., last week. Just three-quarters of a mile from where the hydrogen-filled dirigible Hindenburg exploded into flames in 1937, killing 36, an experimental airship known as the Heli-Stat apparently lost power, crashed and burned during a test flight at the U.S. Naval Air Engineering Center. One of the five civilian crew members was killed.

A hybrid aircraft made up of four Sikorsky SH-34J helicopters attached to a helium-filled blimp, the Heli-Stat was the brainchild of Frank Piasecki, 66, a pioneer in helicopter development. Patented in 1961, the Heli-Stat could not find a sponsor...

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