The flagship of a newly formed Propaganda Squadron,this colossal 8-engined aircraft was built using money raised in a nationwise appeal of funds.The ANT-20 was not only a magnificent example of megalomanie,it was also a awesome display of technical expertise: with a normal accommodation of 8 crew and 72 passengers and thoroughly equiped with “voice in the sky” loudspeakers,bulbs in the wing underside to display slogans,a printing press,4 radio stations,pharmacy,laundry,…..you name it,
First flown in 1934 it had a very brief life that ended next year in a tragic accident when a escorting I-5 attempted an unauthorized loop around its wing.
To show its size the “Maksim Gorkii” was,as in this case,often escorted by small aircrafts like these Polikarpov I-5’s.
Lovely over-view photo of the Naval Air Station (NAS) South Weymouth (Mass.) taken in the middle of the 1950′s.
In the background towers “Hangar One”, the magnificent steel blimp hangar sadly demolished in 1966 to be replaced by a more prosaic and smaller concrete one.
These blimps were part the so-called “N-series”: very aesthetically pleasing ships with big endurance capacities amply demonstrated when one set a world’s non-refuelling record of 200 hours! in 1954.