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NavSource Online: Rigid Airships Photo Archive

USS LOS ANGELES   (ZR-3)

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3)
Contributed by Don McGrogan, BMCS, USN Ret.



Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Echo - Romeo - Mike
Tactical Voice Radio Call:


Los Angeles Class Long-range Training Rigid Airship
Contracted First frame Completed Commissioned Decommissioned Stricken
23 June 1922 mid-1922   Aug. 1924 25 Nov. 1924 30 June 1932 24 Oct. 1939
Builder: Luftschiffbau Zeppelin, Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Specifications
(As built)
Air displacement: 2,764,461 ft³ (78,280.8 m³)
Dimensions: length (oa), 658' 4"; hull diameter, 90' 8"; total height, 104' 5"  /  200.7 x 27.6 x 31.8 meters
Gas volume: 2,599,110 ft³ (73,598.6 m³) of helium; 14 gas cells
Armament: None
Power plant: Five Maybach VL-1 12-cyl water-cooled inline engines mounted in external cars (400 hp each), driving two-bladed fixed-pitch wooden propellers
Speed: 65 knots (max) at sea level; 48 knots (cruising)
Ceiling: N/A
Cruising range: 5,770 miles @ cruising speed
Useful lift: 66,970 lbs. (~30,440 kg)
Crew: 40 (flight crew)

Click on image
for full-size image
Size Image description Contributed
by and/or Copyright
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990327
71k

"Zeppelin - World Trips — Image No. 62. Postwar - Airships"

Tommy Trampp
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990324
89k

"The airship over Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance with Castle Church."

Tommy Trampp
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990325
97k

"Die Führergondel des Z.R.3." The control car of ZR-3. Presumably photographed in 1924 before delivery to the U.S.

Published by A. Gross, Berlin.

Tommy Trampp
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990314
90k

"1925—The dirigible ZR-3, built by the Zeppeling Company in Germany for America, starts her epoch making journey across the Atlantic. The great air cruiser is now the Los Angeles."

Tommy Trampp
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990301
116k

Airship LZ-126 in flight, probably over the eastern U.S. after her flight across the Atlantic from Germany, 15 October 1924. Following delivery to the U.S. Navy, she became USS Los Angeles (ZR-3).

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 98153).

Naval History & Heritage Command
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990304
55k

Airship LZ-126 enters the airship hangar at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey, for the first time after her flight across the Atlantic from Germany, 15 October 1924. Following delivery to the U.S. Navy, she became USS Los Angeles (ZR-3). Panoramic photograph by Clements.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 91149).

Naval History & Heritage Command
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990315
163k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3), date and location unknown.

Library of Congress photo (Call Number LC-B2- 6262-2). George Grantham Bain Collection.

Mike Green
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990316
204k

Motor gondola of USS Los Angeles (ZR-3), date and location unknown.

Library of Congress photo (Call Number LC-B2- 6262-3). George Grantham Bain Collection.

Mike Green
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990323
132k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3), date and location unknown.

Tommy Trampp
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990317
159k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) flying over southern Manhattan Island, New York City, circa 1924–1932 (1930?).

Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 944).

Tommy Trampp
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990309
60k

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore D. Robinson (in the window in right center) in the control car of USS Los Angeles (ZR-3), while the airship was at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey, circa 1925.

Courtesy of Commander Robert L. Ghormley, Jr., USN(SC)-Retired, 1969.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 67773).

Naval History & Heritage Command
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990308
76k

View of the airship's control car, taken while USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) was resting in the airship hangar at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey, circa 1925. Note sandbag weights used to keep the airship from lifting off the wooden supporting structure.

Photographed by Clements.

Courtesy of Commander Robert L. Ghormley, Jr., USN(SC)-Retired, 1969.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 67775).

Naval History & Heritage Command
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990329
120k

Passenger cabin of USS Los Angeles (ZR-3), 12 March 1925. Official U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), # 80-G-460579.

NARA
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS091900926
70k

Airship USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) moored to USS Patoka (AO-9), circa 1926–32, location unknown. A passenger ship is passing by at left.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 76379).

Robert Hurst
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990305
84k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) rising out-of-control to a near-vertical position, while moored at the high mast at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey, shortly after 1:30 PM on 25 August 1927. This incident resulted from the sudden arrival of a cold air front that lifted the airship's tail, causing it to rise before she could swing around the mast parallel to the new wind direction. Los Angeles suffered only minor damage, but the affair demonstrated the risks involved with high mooring masts.

Courtesy of Richard K. Smith, author of the book The Airships Akron & Macon, 1974.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 84567).

Naval History & Heritage Command
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990305a
39k

Airship USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) in a near-vertical position, after her tail rose out-of-control while she was moored at the high mast at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 84568).

Mike Green
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990305b
50k

"(INFORMATIVELY, THIS PICTURE IS PRINTED IN THIS WEEK'S LIFE MAGAZINE)
(NY12-Feb. 28[, 1957]) EMBARRASSING MOMENT 31 YEARS AGO—This picture, now published for the first time, shows the U.S. Navy's giant dirigible Los Angeles standing on its nose at Lakehurst, N.J., in 192[7]. Picture was located by Author John Toland and put in his newly-published book (Ships in the Sky; Henry Holt). Navy is willing to concede one of its men made the picture Toland turned up, but 31 years later can't find any trace of it in Navy photo files. Turbulent breeze from the Atlantic flipped the 700-foot dirigible on its nose without serious damage or injury to crew of 126. Ship slowly righted itself. (AP Wirephoto)(whb50700ho)1957"

Mike Green
Tommy Trampp
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990303
79k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) landing on USS Saratoga (CV-3), 27 January 1928.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 63067).

Naval History & Heritage Command
CV-3 Saratoga + ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS020353
57k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) landing on USS Saratoga (CV-3), 27 January 1928. Note lines used to walk the airship forward from the aircraft carrier's stern.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 44097).

Paul Rebold
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990303a
84k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) on the after flight deck of USS Saratoga (CV-3), 27 January 1928, after she had landed on board the carrier.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 44095).

Naval History & Heritage Command
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990306
83k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey, 1928. Photographed by Rell Clements Jr.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 98378).

Naval History & Heritage Command
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990310
103k

Vought UO-1 observation airplane (Bureau # A-6615) attached to the trapeze of USS Los Angeles (ZR-3), during mating experiments in the airship hangar at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey, 15 December 1928.

Courtesy of Richard K. Smith, author of the book The Airships Akron & Macon, 1974.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 80774).

Naval History & Heritage Command
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990313
17k

Dirigible USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) over the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. Occasion may be President Hoover's inauguration, 4 March 1929.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Theodor Horydczak Collection. Reproduction Number: LC-H823-L05-030.

Library of Congress, via Mike Green
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990321
54k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) and Army semi-rigid airship RS-1 in a hangar.

Photo © by R. Clements, 1929.

Tommy Trampp
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990328
136k

German dirigible Graf Zeppelin (LZ-127) (at right) in the airship hangar at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey. Photo is dated 7 August 1929. Also in the hangar is USS Los Angeles (ZR-3), which had been built in Germany as Zeppelin airship LZ-126.

Courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, 1969. Naval History & Heritage Command (NH&HC) photograph collection (# NH 69168).

NH&HC
Presidential Review
NS014549
122k

Watercolor of a Presidential review for President Hoover, 20 May 1930, along the Virginia Capes near Lynnhaven Roads. Crews line the rails of a Colorado-class (BB 45–48) battleship as the ships pass in line astern of the reviewing stand—aboard USS Salt Lake City (CL-25)—with the airship Los Angeles (ZR-3) piercing the clouds (or maybe the smoke from 21-gun salutes) accompanied by 9 biplanes.

Courtesy of Michael Schwarz
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS020243
141k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) flies over ships of the U.S. Fleet, circa 1930. Photographed from on board the airship, with two of her engine cars in the foreground. Ships below are USS Patoka (AO-9), closest to the camera, and the aircraft carriers USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Saratoga (CV-3).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-462136).

Hampton Roads Naval Museum
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990302
62k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) operating with a Vought UO-1 airplane, over the Atlantic Ocean off the U.S. East Coast, 20 May 1930. Note the trapeze rigged below the airship for launching and recovering the airplane.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-461642).

Naval History & Heritage Command
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS0400710
69k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) with the Navy blimps J-2 and ZMC-2, flying over USS Raleigh (CL-7) and another light cruiser, during maneuvers off Atlantic City, New Jersey, 11 October 1930.

Donation of Franklin Moran, 1967.

Official U.S. Navy photograph, from the Collections of the Naval History & Heritage Command (# NH 65298).

Naval History & Heritage Command
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990311
299k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) seen over West Newton Street, South End, Boston, Massachusetts, October 1930.

Photo by ©Leslie Jones, photographer (1886–1967).

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990307
78k

Navy Lighter-Than-Air Craft at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey, during what appears to be a demonstration, circa 1930–1931. Among the craft present are: a kite balloon (upper craft at left), five free balloons, USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) in the middle distance, two J-class blimps (among them J-4) in the center, and blimp ZMC-2 at right.

Photograph was received from the Navy Recruiting Bureau, New York, 1932.

Official U.S. Navy photograph, from the Collections of the Naval History & Heritage Command (# NH 44075).

Naval History & Heritage Command
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS091900909
104k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) moored to USS Patoka (AO-9), off Panama during Fleet Problem XII, February 1931.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 63069).

Naval History & Heritage Command
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS091900910
78k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) moored to USS Patoka (AO-9), off Panama during Fleet Problem XII, February 1931.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 65301).

Naval History & Heritage Command
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS091900911
76k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) moored to USS Patoka (AO-9), off Panama during Fleet Problem XII, February 1931.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 73285).

Naval History & Heritage Command
CV-2 Lexington, AO-9 Patoka, ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS020244
85k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) (center distance) moored to USS Patoka (AO-9) off Panama during Fleet Problem XII, circa February 1931. USS Lexington (CV-2), at right, and a battleship are also present.

Donation of Franklin Moran, 1967.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph (# NH 65300).

NHC
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990312
394k

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) over New York, July 1931.

Photo by ©Leslie Jones, photographer (1886–1967).

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection
Memorabilia
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990326
87k

A rare 1924 silver medal. "Amerikafahrt des LZ 126 (ZR III)" (America flight of the LZ 126 (ZR III)." Dr. Hugo Eckener was in command of the airship for its transatlantic delivery flight.

Tommy Trampp
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990318
33k

Advertising, 1920s vintage:.

"Whenever low temperatures bring
freezing hazards, the motors of the
'Los Angeles'
are protected with
Eveready Prestone"

Tommy Trampp
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS091900923
94k

A modern day Bermuda postage stamp depicting USS Patoka (AO-9) with USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) attached to her mooring mast, 1925.

Robert Hurst
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990319
88k

"This souvenir post card of the rigid airship
Los Angeles
Comes to you from the 48th
Exhibition of the
Rubber City Stamp
Akron, Ohio
Photograph courtesy of
The Wingfoot Lighter-Than-Air Society"

"The airship (German LZ-126, Navy ZR-3) was
built by the Zeppelin Company in 1924 and
flown to the U.S. from October, 12 to 15. It
was there turned over to the Navy as part
of German WWI reparations. The Navy flew
it officially until decommissioning in June,
1932, and unofficially until 1938. It was
broken up about 1939. Specifications were:
Length 658 feet
Diameter 92 feet
Gas volume 70,000 cubic meters
It is shown flying over the uncompleted
dock at Akron airport in December, 1929.
The dock is 1175 feet long, 325 feet wide
and 211 feet high without interior support."

Tommy Trampp
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990319a
71k
ZR-3 Los Angeles
NS02990320
175k

"ZR-3 arriving at U.S.N. Air Station, Lakehurst, N. J."

"Now the Los Angeles."

International Newsreel, NYC.

Tommy Trampp

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

Read the USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) DANFS History entry
Crew Contact and Reunion Information
Not applicable

Related Links of Interest
  AirshipHistory.com

  Naval Airship Association, Inc.

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Last update: 8 October 2016