Thursday, July 28, 2011
PITTSBURGH— An unmanned, remote controlled airship, launched from Akron, Ohio, crash landed Wednesday morning, just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa.
The High Altitude Long Endurance-Demonstrator, also known as HALE-D, was designed by Lockheed Martin, based out of Akron.
It launched just before 6:00 a.m. at the air dock in Akron.
"It was huge, it was massive! It was also as big as the hangar," said Kailee Thompson of Akron. Kailee and her dad witnessed the launch.
"I've lived here 38 years, and I've never seen anything like this before," added her dad, Richard Thompson.
"When it took off, there wasn't any sound because it's not motored. But there was a lot of joy from people down at airport when it let it off! They were clapping and real excited," said Kailee.
According to Lockheed, the airship reached an altitude of approximately 32,000 feet, however, a technical anomaly prevented the airship from attaining its target altitude of 60,000 feet.
That is when the HALE-D team decided to terminate the flight.
The aircraft crash landed into the woods just after before 8:30 a.m. in Greene County, Pa.
"Wow! They crashed it already? A million dollar tin foil ball is laying in Pennsylvania? Great, wonderful, our tax money at work," said Ray Ficere, of Akron.
"Guess they can try again! Doesn't matter if it fails if they got that much money to throw away!" added Pete Crums of Arkon.
Lockheed Martin is in the process of recovering the airship and will conduct a full evaluation.
They say the airship was supposed to land in central Ohio and was never going to be used again.
Lockheed Martin says they are pushing the boundaries of aviation, and have learned a valuable lesson.
Copyright © 2011, WJW-TV
Posted by Steve Douglass at 8:35 AM