Tupolev ANT-20 “Maksim Gorkii”: Red Wings over the Red Square.

The flagship of the newly formed Propaganda Squadron, this colossal eight-engined aircraft was built using money raised in a nation wise appeal for funds. The ANT-20 was not only a magnificent example of megalomania, it was also a awesome display of technical expertise. Let’s recount:  it had a normal accommodation for eight crew and seventy-two passengers; it was thoroughly equipped with “voice in the sky” loudspeakers; bulbs in the wing underside to display slogans; a printing press; four radio stations; pharmacy; laundry,….., you name it.
First flown in 1934, the ANT-20 enjoyed a very brief service life which 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 aircraft like this pair of Polikarpov I-5s.

Goodyear ZP2N/ZPG-2: Sedate long distance flyers.

Goodyear ZP2N/ZPG-2: Sedate long distance flyers.

Lovely aerial view photo of the Naval Air Station (NAS), South Weymouth (Mass.) taken in the middle 1950s.
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”. These very aesthetically pleasing ships’ big endurance capacities were amply demonstrated when one set  a  non-refuelling record flight of 200 hours(!) in 1954.