SPARROWHAWKS OF THE MACON

SPARROWHAWKS OF THE MACON
Art by Stan Stokes

 

The Sparrowhawk was a small airplane designed to be deployed from an airship. The aircraft was 20 ft long and with only a 25 ft wingspan, the Sparrowhawk was ideal for service in the fighter complement of large rigid-framed airships because of its small size. Although the Sparrowhawk was armed, its primary duty was reconnaissance, and it provided the airships it served with a much wider search area. Akron was reported to have a complement of three Sparrowhawks, while Macon was discovered at its underwater resting place with four Sparrowhawks in its hangar. The Akron was completed in September of 1931, but it would be nearly a year later before the Sparrowhawks were deployed. The Akron logged about 1,700 hours of flying time, but on the night of April 1, 1933 the Akron crashed in the icy Atlantic off the New Jersey shore with few survivors. In the late summer and fall of 1934 the Macon was sent east for fleet training exercises in the Atlantic. Utilizing a simple radio homing beacon for the first time the Macon proved beyond a doubt that the concept of air launched scouting planes was feasible. However, in February of 1935 the USS Macon met the same fate as its sister ship. While cruising up the California coast near Point Sur, the great airship encountered turbulence and began to break-up. Fortunately, only two of the eighty-three man crew were lost. Only one Sparrowhawk survives today.

 

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SPARROWHAWKS OF THE MACON
Art by Stan Stokes

The Sparrowhawk was a small airplane designed to be deployed from an airship. The aircraft was 20 ft long and with only a 25 ft wingspan, the Sparrowhawk was ideal for service in the fighter complement of large rigid-framed airships because of its small size. Although the Sparrowhawk was armed, its primary duty was reconnaissance, and it provided the airships it served with a much wider search area. Akron was reported to have a complement of three Sparrowhawks, while Macon was discovered at its underwater resting place with four Sparrowhawks in its hangar. The Akron was completed in September of 1931, but it would be nearly a year later before the Sparrowhawks were deployed. The Akron logged about 1,700 hours of flying time, but on the night of April 1, 1933 the Akron crashed in the icy Atlantic off the New Jersey shore with few survivors. In the late summer and fall of 1934 the Macon was sent east for fleet training exercises in the Atlantic. Utilizing a simple radio homing beacon for the first time the Macon proved beyond a doubt that the concept of air launched scouting planes was feasible. However, in February of 1935 the USS Macon met the same fate as its sister ship. While cruising up the California coast near Point Sur, the great airship encountered turbulence and began to break-up. Fortunately, only two of the eighty-three man crew were lost. Only one Sparrowhawk survives today.

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