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  Thursday  August 8  2002    10: 29 PM

Lighter than air

Death of a Dirigible

Over Lakehurst, New Jersey, the sky was unsettled on the afternoon of September 2, 1925. At times it was almost clear; then ominous clouds would scud across the field of the Naval Air Station and disappear as quickly as they had come. The airship Shenandoah, nose to her high mooring mast, was floating gracefully with the variable breezes. Her twenty gas bags were about 91% full; her tanks loaded with 9,075 pounds of water and 16, 620 pounds of gasoline. Sailors were riding up the elevator to the top of the mast. The 682-foot ship- her Indian name meant "Daughter of the Stars"- was almost ready for her fifty-eighth flight, a tour of Midwest state fairs. Everybody wanted to see the flying battleship. [read more]