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In 1942, the U.S. Navy began construction of 17 wooden hangars around the United States coastlines to house the K-class blimps being used for anti-submarine coast patrol and convoy escort. Two of these hangars were built at Naval Air Station Tillamook. They were commissioned in December 1942 and served the Oregon-Washington coastal area.
Construction of the two hangars was rushed to completion. Hangar "B" was the first one built and was completed in August of 1943. Hangar "A", later destroyed by a fire in 1992, was completed in the remarkable time of only 27 days. Surprisingly, there were no serious injuries or deaths on the entire project.
Located at Naval Air Station Tillamook was Squadron ZP-33 with a complement of eight K blimps. These airships were 252 feet long and filled with 425,000 cubic feet of helium. With a range of 2,000 miles and an ability to stay aloft for three days, they were well suited for coast patrol and convoy escort. Naval Air Station Tillamook was decommissioned in 1948. Since 1994, the remaining hangar has been home to one of the finest collections of privately owned WWII flying aircraft in the nation.
Photograph copyright 2013 Jon Burch Photography
May 12th, 2013
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