Yes, that was an airship flying over York County. And no, if you saw it, you weren't somehow transported back to the days when the United States was at war with the Axis powers.
The U.S. Navy MZ-3A, the only manned airship in the Navy's fleet, flew over York City about 4:30 p.m. Monday, causing some people to cast a gaze to the nearly cloudless sky.
"First time I've seen one like that. But I have seen other blimps," said Allen Fowler, who was in the area for his job with UGI Utilities.
Fowler said he was driving on Route 30 to York from Lancaster when he spotted the white airship with "U.S. Navy" printed on its side.
Like Fowler, the non-rigid airship was heading West and slowly flew over parts of the county, including the Red Lion area and West Manchester Township.
"It was nice to see a blimp in the air. You notice it better when it's white," Fowler said.
Airships: The Navy acquired the airship in 2006, its first in nearly 50 years.
At one time, airships were used to patrol America's coastline against German and Japanese submarine attack during the Second World War.
One of the few similarities of the Navy's modern airship with its predecessors is that it's based at Lakehurst, N.J., the site of the infamous 1937 Hindenburg disaster.
Most of the similarities end there. The MZ-3A is used as a research vehicle to test sensors that could be used on a future U.S. Army airship, said Doug Abbotts, spokesman for Naval Air Warfare Center - Aircraft Division.
The dirigible tested sensors used on unmanned aircraft that patrol front bases in Afghanistan, he said.
"We like to use it for requirements that require low, slow and vibration-free flights," Abbotts said.
He couldn't say where the airship was going or why it happened to fly over York County.
But residents of the East Coast have been seeing and will continue to see a lot of the white blimp.
"It flies almost everyday," Abbotts said. "We're doing some work under contract for the Army."
The 178-foot in length airship can do a whooping 45 knots - 52 mph - and can flying as high as 9,500 feet but typically flies at an altitude of 1,500 feet.
A contracted crew from a company that works closely with airships pilots the dirigible, Abbotts said.
Operation: While generally used for research, the MZ-3A has been deployed in the wake of a crisis.
In 2010, the airship saw action when it assisted the U.S. Coast Guard in tracking oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The airship's slow-moving speeds and its ability to fly an entire day on a single tank of gas made it perfect for the mission.
"(That was the) only operational mission that we've ever performed," Abbotts said.