February 21 in aviation: the airship Rome crashes, killing 34 people.
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At 410 meters long, "Rome" was the largest semi-rigid airship of the time. Designed by Umberto Nobile and built in Italy, the aircraft was purchased from the Italian government by the US military in 1921 for $ 250.000. The military intended to use the plane as a training airship. After renovating and installing the Liberty engines, a flight test program was launched.
February 21, 1922, the aircraft "Rome" left the base at Langley Field and soon, while flying at an altitude of almost 2 km, began a steep descent. The crew tried to straighten the aircraft using the elevators, but to no avail. Thus, the front of the airship came into contact with the supply wires, causing the explosion of the tank full of hydrogen gas.
The pilot, Captain Dale Mabry and 33 other people died in the accident, 8 people were seriously injured and only 3 escaped unharmed. As a result of this tragedy, hydrogen was no longer used in American airships. The failure of the rudder structure caused the elevators to lock and not be able to move.