I like the system used on USS Akron and USS Macon, the only flying aircraft carriers the US Navy had. Instead of a runway, there was a hatch in the hangar deck, through which fighters were dropped like bombs. Recovery was by a hook on the fighter's upper wing engaging a trapeze-like gadget that was then hauled inboard on a rail. The last version of Sparrowhawk fighter didn't even have wheels. What killed the airship program wasn't the rapid improvement of airplanes, but the terrible vulnerability of large LTA ships to foul weather. Akron and Macon were both wrecked in thunderstorms.
The-Necromancer is very familiar with the ZRS ships. They were most amazing vessels, and one can only imagine how they may have influenced the War in the Pacific had they survived into the 1940s. Likely, radar would have made them obsolete regardless, but to think of what usefulness they could have had early on...
Actually, The-Necromancer has often speculated about a modern version of the ZRS program. Drone carriers. Interesting thought, that, although likely impractical to most current military minds, what with the GPS and the other satellite systems, so on and so forth...
I know that one! Yeah, that was a bit of inspiration, actually. The other half of the inspiration was the multi-hulled airships of ~donaguirre.
I got a whole back story to the conflict between the Grand Duchy of Lynxia (this air carrier is part of their fleet) and the militaristic nation of Greater Valet. It culminates in an airship battle that is part Jutland, part Trafalgar. I give out little bits and pieces of that story from time to time, but I doubt I'll ever tell the whole thing.
I picked up "Sky Captain and the World of tomorrow" on DVD the other day and this giant reminds me of the huge flying base commanded by "Frankie" (Angelina Jolie). The point is: yours is far more realistic. I wonder, whether the US ever considered a landing deck similar to naval carrier decks, when they came up with the Akron/Macon project. And no, I won't steal the concept .
Oh I adore that movie, even if "Frankie's" ships are HTA. The Hindenburg III sequence and the various other ships seen early in the movie are worth it alone. As far as the US Navy ever considering a flight deck on the top of an airship, there was no such interest in the 1930s. However, I remember seeing something from the 1950s with the Air Force wanting to do such a thing. Their design was mostly for mild press interest, and it wouldn't have flown.
I'm glad you like my design, and I'd be flattered to see what you could do with the concept if you'd like. I sometimes toy around with this design a bit yet, but I admit my artistic talent is light years behind what you do. Feel free to borrow from it if you want.