Just in case you saw the U.S. Navy blimp floating over Frederick today and were wondering what was going on.
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the Navy’s sole Science & Technology research squadron, Scientific Development Squadron ONE (VXS-1), will operate the MZ-3A lighter-than-air “blimp” in the regions surrounding Washington, D.C. beginning Sept. 21.
Mobile mooring of the MZ-3A airshipOwned by the U.S. Navy, the MZ-3A is stationed at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md. (PAX) and is operated under the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and Scientific Development Squadron ONE (VXS-1).
Operating under the special approval of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Navy MZ-3A will conduct aerial mapping operations within the Washington D.C. Flight Restriction Zone (DCA-FRZ) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, (USDA-ARS) Beltsville, Md., and at U.S. Army Fort Belvoir located in Fairfax, Va.
In addition, the MZ-3A will conduct mapping operations within the DCA-Special Flight Restrictions Area (DCA-SFRA) and at times will traverse the region to the north to Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK) in Maryland and to the southwest near Culpepper, Va., (CJR) before ending operations Oct. 5 and departing to the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J.