Airship Crashes in the USA

While helium strives relentlessly upwards, everything else falls away, back to the ground—often in bad ways. The three big American-made rigid airships (the Akron, Shenandoah, and Macon) all crashed within two years of being deployed (one in the Pacific, one in the Atlantic, and one in the middle, in Ohio). Our idea of airships is blighted with their failures. Over the past 110 years, there have been dozens of crashes of airships in the USA, with more than 250 people killed (most of them were over the ocean, so they do not appear on this map). Some of these early crashes involved hydrogen, not helium airships, as hydrogen is easier to produce, and is even lighter than helium, but is flammable. It was the Roma crash in 1922 that compelled the US Navy to switch to helium, and by 1925, most USA-based airships were converted to the safer gas. But the airships continued to fall.