Giant Radio Controlled Model of U.S.S. Macon

by Dan Grossman on June 18, 2011

Retired engineer Jack Clemens has been getting attention lately with his giant radio-controlled model of the airship U.S.S. Macon.

R/C Model of USS MaconThe 1/40 scale model is 20-feet long and has a diameter of 3.3 feet; it is driven by miniature “Firefly” electric motors attached to the eight outrigger props and powered by a lithium-polymer battery in the nose, and is lifted by helium contained in multiple mylar gas bags.

USS Macon model, framing

This is the third model of the Macon built by Clemens, and each took more than two years to create.  The first was destroyed by the Clemens’ cat Roscoe in 2006, before its first flight.  The second model flew successfully but was lost in 2008 when a gust of wind carried it beyond radio range; the remains of the craft were recovered two days later in an orchard five miles away.  The third model, seen above, was completed in April of this year.


Recreating the USS Macon from

You Built What?! A Colossal Flying Reproduction of a 1935 Airship from

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken Prescott April 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Now, all he needs is some R/C Sparrowhawks to fly off of it. ;)


John Sharp September 5, 2012 at 10:36 am

Hey, Dan, I know that Goodyear had a blimp known as Spirit of Akron. I had heard that it was lost but I don’t know the story. Also, I don’t know if Goodyear ever had plans to build a Spirit of Macon but thought that would be a good story…. Does your site have a story about the Spirit of Akron and other current Goodyear blimps?

I also have seen on the web generally about small (less than 100 ft) drone unmanned blimps being used by the US to patrol the Mexican border. Do you know anything about that? Do you have a story on such use of small airships?


Chris Cowan, Denver, CO June 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm

What a remarkable achievement! Thank you Mr. Clemens for recreating such a wonderful piece of history. I hope to see it some day at the Moffett Field Museum.
Maybe some day in the future we will see these great airships flying again.


SJP October 17, 2011 at 5:52 pm
Eric June 21, 2011 at 11:33 pm

This is beautiful! I second Tim’s wish to see it flying on video!


Tim June 19, 2011 at 11:27 am

That is incredible! It looks perfect, I’d love to see some video of it flying.


Francisco Carvallo June 18, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Mr. Clemens has kindly volunteered to donate this wonderful model of the USS Macon to the Moffett Field Museum (once Hangar One’s “remodeling” is done). His dream is to fly it into the hangar! The society couldn’t have asked for such a wonderful act of kindness!
Thank you Mr. Clemens!


M L Hopp June 18, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Amazing reproduction! I too hope to someday do something much like this with one of the combat zeppelins. A great inspiration indeed.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: