On Saturday, after apple picking at Crooked Run Orchard in Purcellville and on my way to Carolina Bros. by Partlow in Ashburn for pulled pork and soda in glass bottles, my son and I saw a blimp overhead while we were going through Clarks Gap. I could make out the small letters US NAVY on the mostly white airship and I wondered if it was the blimp I blogged about in 2012 – Lakehurst has a blimp again. It was! Here’s more from WUSA: Navy airship to operate in DC area, test in Md and Va
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory says the Navy’s Scientific Development Squadron ONE will launch the MZ-3A lighter-than-air “blimp” around the D.C. area.
According to the Navy, “the MZ-3A is propeller-driven by two 180 horsepower Lycoming engines producing a top speed just under 50 knots with an operational payload capability of up to 2,500 pounds. The manned 178-foot LTA craft can remain aloft and nearly stationary for more than twelve hours…”
I hope to see it again — as I mentioned in a recent Skins post, blimps used to be a regular sight over Northern Virginia, back in the good ol’ days before restricted airpsace.
The MZ-3A will return to to Lakehurst, N.J. aka Blimptown, after its time in BeltwayLand.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy via WUSA