Moviegoers can easily recognize flights of fancy when they see the Avengers assemble aboard the flying “Helicarrier” aircraft carrier in Hollywood’s latest superhero blockbuster. But could the U.S. Navy ever build the fantastical military marvel if it wanted a flying air base?
The Navy has experimented with less-ambitious flying aircraft carriers in the 1930s — its rigid airships such as the USS Macon and USS Akron could each carry up to five biplane fighter aircraft. But the modern military’s budget would likely burst trying to build and operate a full-size flying aircraft carrier that weighs 100,000 tons and stretches the length of three football fields, according to a U.S. Navy official at Naval Air Systems Command. Continue reading