Dinosaurs of the Air

Just yesterday we’ve been browsing through some of our archive pictures with Veronika and noted following ones in the folder called “2011 – 02 – 23 Londyn science museum & hyde park”.

I made a quick transcript.

Dinosaurs of the Air

Early airships used gas pressure to keep their shape, but this only suited small craft. From 1900 Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin experimented with much larger rigid airships. In these an outer skin covered a framework of aluminum girders. Inside, separate gas bags held hydrogen.

There were many crashes. The huge size made the ships hard to control and they were always at risk from bad weather. But contemporary aeroplanes had a short range so airships were attractive for passengers or for war. During the First World War, German Zeppelins were used for naval patrols and for bombing but proved vulnerable.

After the war many countries tried Zeppelin-type airships, but accidents were common. Even the use of non-flammable helium gas in America did not make them safe. Three great helium-filled airships, Swanborough, Acron and Macon, all crashed with loss of life. After the last disaster the USA gave up airships as did Britain after the loss of the R101 in 1930.

Only the Zeppelin company, with its core of skilled technicians and crew operated airships reliable and the passengers-carrying “Graf Zeppelin” performed notable flights for several years. However, when its successor, the “Hindenburg”, caught fire on landing at Lakehurst in New Jersey in 1937 it market the end of the rigid airships.

In a curious epilogue to the airship age the “Graf Zeppelin II” flew some final mission on the eve of the Second World War. Equipped with radio technicians and electronics it cruised off the coast in May 1939 to find out if Britain had a radar warning system. It was in fact, followed on the Chain Home screens, but aboard the airship the crew failed to detect the transmissions.

Plus there was one more. I’ll try to identify those another day.

2 thoughts on “Dinosaurs of the Air

  1. Letecký provoz byl zcela zrušen, takže se není čeho bát 🙂
    Air traffic has been completely canceled, so there is nothing to fear 🙂

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