One hundred and twenty years before the Wright brother's historic 1903 flight mankind had already discovered a way to ascend into the atmosphere using lifting gases. Airplane development through the early 1930s produced remarkable aircraft with limited payload, range and comfort. But luxurious long distance and transatlantic air travel was still possible during this period by way of the airship. These giant airships were also used in warfare, polar exploration and weekly scheduled air service. The USS Los Angeles served the US Navy for 15 years. The German Graf Zeppelin sailed injury-free around the world for 10 years. But their success was continually overshadowed by tragedy. The loss of the Akron, Macon, R101 and Hindenburg. The mysterious disappearance of the French Dixmude and its entire crew of 55. Tonight's presentation will outline the story of these giant airships. They occupied a fascinating but short lived side branch in the evolutionary tree of aviation.