Nonrigid airships or “blimps” or “gas bags” were a major component of U.S. naval aviation during World War II and through the 1950s. The largest “class” of blimps was the K-series.
The K-1 was an experimental blimp, built by the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia in 1931. Among the features she introduced was a “gondola” or “car” attached directly to the envelope. The K-1 had two tractor engines, a gas bag of 319,900 cubic feet, and a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour. That pioneer served in experimental and training roles until scrapped in 1941.
1. The definitive work on U.S. Navy blimps in World War II is J. Gordon Vaeth, Blimps & U-boats: U.S. Navy Airships in the Battle of the Atlantic (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1992).
2. The U-134 was sunk on 24 August 1943, near Vigo, Spain, by depth charges dropped by a British Vickers Wellington bomber. All 48 men in the submarine were killed.
3. Vaeth, Blimps & U-boats, 172.