Friday, March 04, 2016

Friday history - English airship edition

There seems to have been a gap in my knowledge about European airship history.

Everyone knows about the Hindenburg crash, but I did not recall that the English tried building their own passenger airships, the R100 and R101, one of which met a similar fate.

This was brought to my attention by a great series of photos at a Retronaut post from November last year of the interior of the R100.  Here are some examples:

The first trip did not go so smoothly:
After a series of tests, the R-100 embarked on her first great voyage. Originally planned for India, the destination was changed to Canada over concerns about the engines’ performance in tropical heat. The R-100 departed from England on July 29, 1930, arriving at Quebec Airport 78 hours later. It flew some short flights in the area and returned to the UK on Aug. 16.
There were a few minor hitches on the journey. A storm caused the outer membrane to rupture, which had to be repaired in-flight and replaced in Montreal. The galley’s electric oven also broke down due to water damage on the way back.
 And then, the R101 met the same fate as the Hindenburg:
Meanwhile, on Oct. 4, 1930, the R-101 set off for a voyage to India. It crashed in France due to bad weather, killing 48 of the 54 passengers and crew, including several major figures of British aviation. 
The Wikipedia article on the R101 gives a lot of detail.

Is it just me, or is this (other) nail in the coffin of hydrogen lofted airships not very well known?


Drew Smith said...

Interesting, the would be a great flight experience quite thrill and scary lol..

Alden Richards said...

Acquiring historical knowledge about airship.