South Weymouth NAS – February 13, 1960

South Weymouth Naval Air Station – February 13, 1960


     On the morning of February 13, 1960, the U.S. Navy blimp, ZPG-3W, reportedly the largest blimp in the world, was being towed by a tractor to its hangar at the South Weymouth Naval Air Station when a strong gust of wind lifted the rear of the blimp which caused the tow-tractor to flip on its side.  (The three man crew on the tractor were not injured.)  When the tractor flipped over the tow line broke and the blimp was driven by the wind into the door of the hangar which caused a large rip in the fabric, allowing 1.5 million cubic feet of helium gas to escape.  As the blimp began to settle, the lone crewman aboard had to scramble out of the gondola before it was buried under the weight of the deflating fabric. 

     The $12 million dollar blimp was reported to be a total loss.   

     The ZPG-3-W was 403 feet long, and 118 feet tall.   


     Boston Advertiser, “Biggest Blimp Ripped Open”, February 14, 1960

     Sunday News, (N.Y.), Biggest Blimp, $12 Million Job, Gone With The Wind”, February 14, 1960

     New York Daily News, “Huge Blimp Rips Skin, Deflates”, February 27, 1960


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