When the USS Macon met its end, the Navy's zeppelin ambitions died with it.
The USS Macon was one of only two flying aircraft carriers ever built. The other was her sister ship, the USS Akron.
The Macon was built by Prague-born engineer Dr. Karl Arnstein in Akron, Ohio. Her first flight was in April 1933. Both the Macon and the Akron were capable of carrying small F9C “Sparrowhawk” propeller planes, which were launched and retrieved during flight.
The Macon was 785 feet long. The wreck site of the Macon was finally discovered in 1990, 55 years after it sank to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. A fisherman who had marked the exact coordinates where he'd lost a net assisted the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Navy with locating the site.
The crash was caused by a violent storm, which tore off the upper fin of the Macon and sent her spiraling down into the sea. The ship landed gently before it sank, however, and only two of eighty-three men were lost. The Macon’s site is the best documented underwater site in the world apart from the Titanic. The wreck site remains secret to the public. It lies within a marine sanctuary and is not accessible to divers due to its depth.
The hangar for the USS Macon, which is large enough to fit three Titanics, still stands in Sunnyvale, California. A new zeppelin will soon be delivered to the site, which will then open as a tourist attraction. In its heyday, the Macon was used for scouting purposes over the Pacific Ocean. Some historians believe that the attack on Pearl Harbor might have been prevented if the ship had still been in use.