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Ensign John Lutz


John Lutz's Log Book

NAS Santa Ana, September 2010

Photos taken September 2010 of the more Northern WW2 Blimp Hangar at NAS Santa-Ana (today they are in the city of Tustin, CA South of LA) The former base is closed and partially redeveloped as of photo date.

In September, 2010, both hangars were still standing. When development resumes, the plan is to tear the other one down.

The hangars have wood truss arches, made of substantial timbers. The wood is heavily treated with borate salt for both fire and insect protection. The truss bases (footers) are concrete and sit on something like 1,000 concrete filled metal pipes (piles) which go 40 to 60 feet down.

The doorframes are mechanically separate from the hangar, to prevent doorway windload from blowing down the hangar. The door pillars are very substantial, and hold up a large box beam. Severe "Santa Ana" winds can exceed 80 mph, with door load approaching something like 1 million pounds.

The basic 1942 wood truss arch hangar design was strengthened for high wind load, and further strengthened for possible earthquake load, for this base.

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US Navy Rigid Airships as aircraft carriers

Some of my favorite photos from the US Navy History website (all public domain). I've noticed these are not always available on the Navy's website. Airships were the East Coast's Akron (1931-1933) and the West Coast's Macon (1933-1935)

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WWII K-Ship photos

All these photos belonged to my father, Command Pilot Lt John Lutz (Dec 1945 rating). I think they were taken with the large K-20 camera carried by Blimp crews. Dad was an experienced amateur photographer before he joined the Navy.


John Lutz entered Naval Flight Ground School at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in the late spring of 1942. His boxing instructor was the future US President Gerald Ford, and a classmate the future US President George Bush (the first one). Lutz got flight training at NAS Lakehurst from November 1942 through March 1943.


Lutz, as an Ensign, earned the designation "Naval Aviator (Airship)" in April 1943, and started patrolling for submarines from NAS Richmond, Florida (ZPG 21) with some flights out of the Isle of Pines detachment, Cuba. He had 7 flights under Lt Grills in June, 1943, the month before Grills was shot down in the K-74. Lutz was designated a Senior Pilot in July, 1943, which meant he could now serve as skipper.


Lutz was transferred to NAS Trinidad (ZPG 51) in February, 1944, with some flights out of the Guantanamo, Cuba detachment. He was made a Lt(jg) in July 1943. He got his Blimp Astralant certification for his Anti-Submarine Training out of Key West in September, 1944. He was made a Command Pilot in November, 1944.


In December, 1944, he was transferred to NAS Santa Ana (ZPG 31), where he served through July, 1945, with some flights out of the Del Mar detachment near San Diego Lutz died in 2000.


Written by his son, Mark Lutz, Minneapolis, MN

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