The U.S. Navy’s MZ-3A airship is conducting aerial mapping operations over Washington, D.C. The flights, which began Sept. 21, will operate within the Washington D.C. Flight Restriction Zone, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Md., and at Fort Belvoir, Fairfax, Va.
It will also traverse the region north to Frederick, Md., and southwest to Culpepper, Va.
The flights will end Oct. 5, when the airship will return to the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J. The MZ-3A is operated by Naval Research Laboratory and Scientific Development Squadron One, and flown by pilots from Integrated Systems Solutions Inc. The 178-foot blimp has a top speed of 50 knots, carries a 2,500-pound payload, and can remain aloft and stationary for 12 hours while performing ISR technology development flights.