Navy blimp returning to Baltimore region

Aircraft is continuing an aerial mapping mission, which began in September

  • MZ-3A, the U.S. Navy's only airship currently in operation, seen here moored at Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport.
MZ-3A, the U.S. Navy's only airship currently in operation,… (MC2 Adam Henderson / U.S.…)
November 06, 2013|By Nayana Davis, The Baltimore Sun

Though it has only been gone a few weeks, the Navy blimp will once again make its return to the Baltimore skies.

The 178-foot airship, which is owned by the government and primarily used for research, will continue a mission to test aerial mapping sensors for the Army starting Nov. 12. The trek will begin in Beltsville and later continue to the Baltimore region, although a spokesman for the Naval Research Laboratory couldn't say exactly when the blimp could be spotted in the area.

"This is to compare data from the previous mission," said Daniel Parry, the spokesman.

Throughout the expedition, the blimp will be based in Frederick. The trip will conclude Nov. 25, when the airship is brought back to the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in St. Mary's County.

The blimp previously hovered in Baltimore for several weeks starting in late September. It continued its mission despite the government shutdown because of a pre-existing contract between the Army and Navy.

Parry said there are no immediate plans for the airship to return to region following the completion of this trip.

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