Luckily for the crew of the Avionix IV dragons don't attack anything unless it is moving, so the captain merely ordered all activity halted until the beast flew by. All but the essential hands waited below decks for the dragon to pass, thankful that they didn't have to use the cannons on a foe that was so maneuverable.
Firing the cannons was always a risky business since they were housed so low on the ship's center of gravity. The recoil could send the basket swinging backwards away from the shot and ruin the aim until the pendulum motion finally stopped. For this reason two cannons, one on either side of the Avionix, were always fired at once; one with shot and the other just with charge. This let the recoils cancel each other out and kept the basket stable.
Of course, in the hands of the famous Admiral K'ang Belleboister this property was used most ingeniously to defeat a Massenshaft airship that was hovering above his Avionix, dropping bombards down upon his balloon and deck. First he unfurled all the sails, bringing his own airship to a standstill, enduring the taunting of the enemy above who thought they now had an easier target, while he loaded all banks of cannons. Then he fired the whole side containing only the charge all at once.
The basket swung up sideways until it was over 90 degrees from its resting position. From this sideways position Admiral Belleboister fired the bank of cannon filled with shot, tearing the Massenshaft ship above in half from the belly up. The recoil sent the basket back to its resting position just in time for the Admiral to raise the sails and let the two halves of the Massenshaft vessel fall behind him as his crew waved farewell to the startled enemy clinging to their basket in a futile attempt to save their lives.
No need for that kind of heroics here, though; this was only a dragon.