Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Lighter-Than-Air-Aircraft:  US

This section focuses on lighter-than-air aircraft that served the U.S. Navy during World War I.   B-Series:   Highly influenced by British design, the B-series was the U.S. Navy's first production airship, and these craft were used for anti-submarine patrols.   C-Series:  Designed for coastal patrols and convoys, the C-1 was first flown September 30, 1918.  Due to the late entry, these lighter-than-air airships were not used in combat.   Observation Kites:   U.S. Navy operated Kite Balloons were used for operational purposes from ships and stations.  They were later used by observation planes.  During the war, 117 balloons were produced.    They were designated under the class of ZK.    Note, 17 balloons used by the U.S. were made by Allied manufacturers.   Spherical Ballons:  Designated ZF, they did not have a model identification nor sequential numbers, only procurement order numbers to identify them.  These balloons were used for lighter-than-aircraft training and for races.  

Image:   NH 72906:   A Goodyear "B" series type airship, 1917.   U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.