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The mounting of the engines on the two lower keels did create one design element which was accepted only as a compromise; the four engines on either side were mounted in a straight line, and not staggered as the external power cars of earlier zeppelins had been. Macon, were based on plans prepared by Goodyear-Zeppelin engineer Karl Arnstein which differed radically from the design of previous rigid airships. Akron conducted its first naval exercise in January, 1932.In earlier zeppelins, the staggering of engines at differing heights along the hull allowed each propeller to operate in clean air, undisturbed by the prop wash from the engine in front of it, whereas the propellers on Akron and Macon operated in the disturbed air created by the engines ahead of them. The ship was christened by First Lady Lou Hoover, the wife of United States President Herbert Hoover, on August 8, 1931, and made its first flight on September 23, 1931, under the command of Charles Rosendahl. While the ship’s range was impressive (it was able to stay aloft for several days and fly thousands of miles before returning to base), it performed poorly as a scouting aircraft, largely because it was not yet equipped with its squadron of fixed-wing aircraft, which would not become operational until the summer of 1932.
The maximum part of the eclipse occurs when the Moon is close under the horizon.
The best time to view the eclipse in Akron would be around this time.
The capacity to embark and deploy fixed-wing aircraft was the essential element of Akron and Macon’s ability to serve as naval scouts.
Aircraft were launched and retrieved by means of a trapeze, and could enter and exit the hangar though a large T-shaped opening at the bottom of the hull.
Although the Navy originally envisioned the airships as scouting vessels which carried airplanes for fighter defense, over time (and over the objection of officers like Charles Rosendahl) the Navy eventually realized that the vulnerable airship itself was best employed in the background, out of sight of the enemy; the airship’s function would be to carry scouting planes within range of the enemy.