|Lakehurst Naval Air
established in 1921 to serve as the Navy's headquarters for
lighter-than-air aircraft testing and training. The first major
facility built at Lakehurst was Hangar No. 1 was, designed to house the
huge helium-filled dirigibles.
The above photo was sent to us from Thomas H. Moran, the son of Captain Henry G. Moran, the fifth Commanding Officer of U.S.S. Little Rock CL92 (24 May 48 - 13 May 1949).
And you ask "Why was Captain Moran interested in NAS Lakehurst?" Well, for one, he was stationed there on two different occasions ( Jun 34 to Jan 36, and Jun 39 to May 41), well before he became CO of LITTLE ROCK, and secondly, he was a licensed LTA pilot, meaning he had been trained and licensed to fly "Lighter Than Air" aircraft. Specifically blimps, dirigibles and ballons. It would seem unlikely that in the history of the U.S. Navy that any Commanding Officer of a Light Cruiser was also a LTA Pilot. Let us know if you are aware of any other(s).
A couple of things worth noting in the photo:
(1) the large tethered dirigible in the U.S. Navy Dirigible Los Angeles. The USS Los Angeles ZR-3 was a rigid airship built in 1924 by the Zeppelin company in Friedrichshafen, Germany. It was delivered to the US Navy in Oct 1924, was decommissioned in 1932, recommissioned in 1933, and finally struck off the Navy list in 1939.
USS Los Angeles' Specifications:
Length: 658' 4"
Beam: 90' 8"
Draft (Height): 104' 5"
Propulsion: Five 12-cyl water-cooled 400hp
Propellers: Two-bladed, fixed-pitch
Speed: 48 knots (55 mph) (cruising), 65 knots (75 mph) (maximum)
Range: 5,770 nmi (6,640 statute miles) at 10 knots (12 mph)
(2) the large building at the top-center part of the photo is "Hangar One" which once claimed the record for the largest "single room" in the world. Completed in 1921, the hangar is 966 feet long, 350 feet wide and 224 feet high, with a floor area of 211,434 square feet. At each end are two pairs of massive steel doors, mounted on railroad tracks. Each counterbalanced door weighs 1,350 tons and is powered by two, 20 horsepower motors, although the doors were made to be opened manually. The hangar was large enough to house two rigid airships as well as additional non-rigid airships (blimps).
(3) there are two unidentifies blimps flying over NAS Lakehurst in this photo. They are traveling from right-to-left. One of the blimps is passing by Hanger One, the other is just ahead of it. Note their shadows on the ground which help visualize the altitude the blimps are flying,