CAPT. ROBERT E. SELFF COLLECTION
No. 1706. Naval Aircraft Factory Rigid Airship (ZR-1) US Navy "Shenandoah"
Photographed over San Francisco, California, USA, 1924

Sikorsky S-38A C-6A

In flight over San Francisco, headed south along the Embarcadero (ship docks) with Yerba Buena Island in the upper background.

06/15/2006. Remarks by Jack McKillop: "The Shenandoah was the first rigid airship to be designed and built by the US Navy, It was designed by the Bureau of Aeronautics; fabricated at the Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, assembled at Naval Air Station (NAS) Lakehurst, New Jersey, USA, and commissioned on October 10, 1923.

Shenandoah was designed for fleet reconnaissance work of the type carried out by German naval airships in WW I. In January 1924, Shenandoah was torn from its mooring mast at NAS Lakehurst by a gale, and the nose was damaged. Repairs to the airship were completed in May, and it devoted the summer of 1924 to work with its powerplant and radio equipment to prepare for its duty with the fleet which began in August.

The year 1925 began with nearly six months of maintenance and ground test work and Shenandoah did not take to the air until June 26. On September 2, 1925, the airship departed NAS Lakehurst on a flight to the Middle West for training and to test a new mooring mast at Dearborn, Michigan. While passing through an area of thunderstorms and turbulence over Ohio early in the morning of September 3, the airship was torn apart and crashed near Marietta, Ohio. Shenandoah's commanding officer, Commander Zachary Lansdowne, and 13 other officers and men were killed. Twenty-nine survivors succeeded in riding three sections of the airship to earth."

Created August 8, 2002