Goodyear Type PA / ‘G’ Class
In order to train pilots and other personnel, Goodyear decided to build and operate a fleet of small non-rigid airships. These would not only prove useful as training craft, but also as experimental ships to test new materials and techniques required for the rigid airship programme.
Between July 1928 and August 1940, twelve commercial airships were built by Goodyear, eleven of the Type TZ, which was an enlarged and improved version of "Pilgrim", and one larger Type PA. The one-off Type PA named "Defender", largest of the fleet, began life in 1929 with an envelope of 178,000 cut ft. In September 1935, this was replaced with one of 183,000 cu ft when the ship was sold to the U.S. Navy as the first of the G-Class.
The "Defender", the Flag Ship of the fleet, was powered by two 165 h.p. Wright Whirlwind engines and could take eight passengers plus pilot.
Operations were based on five airships during the summer months, With "Defender" based at Akron until retirement in 1934.
Goodyear had supplied the Navy with J-1 in 1922 and G-1 in 1935. G-1 was ex-Goodyear DEFENDER,1935, Vol 183,000 cu ft. G-2 to G-8 were ordered June, 1942.