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US NAVY MZ-3A ‘REPRIEVED’ AT LAST MOMENT

The US Navy MZ-3A, currently the only US Navy airship flying, received a last minute reprieve from deflation on February 27. The airship had arrived at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and was due to enter Hangar 1 for deflation and storage. News of the deflation came just four months after the airship had received her US Navy ‘colours’. The reason given for the deflation was, according to Doug Abbotts, a spokesman at the Naval Air Systems Command centre at Patuxent River, Md. “It’s not that we have a lack of funding. We have a lack of mission.” However, the crew of the airship was informed shortly after arriving at Lakehurst that two ‘clients’ who had previously found the airship to be very useful for testing their "packages" had stepped in and provided the mission required to keep the airship operational. The airship is now expected to undergo maintenance at Lakehurst for a few days and then depart for a new assignment.

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The world largest airship, the M1400, is nearing completion in the TECOM hangar at Weeksville, NC. First flight is expected in the May / June time frame. At the same time the program is in jeopardy due to budget cuts but has some powerful political support. Full details in the June issue of AIRSHIP.

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