The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Airships...Classic and modern

I ran across this webpage about a modern Zeppelin "Eureka"    The difference between a Zeppelin and the blimp you see circling the sports stadium is construction.  The blimp is basically a big balloon, the air sac is the structure.  On the Zeppelins there is a semi-rigid frame to support the the air sacs.  Before the Hindenburg desaster. their was talk of huge airships plying the wind between Europe and the United States.  Even the U.S. Navy had 2 airships that they could launch airplanes from the U.S.S. Akron and the U.S.S. Macon  When most people think of zeppelins this is what they they think of...more info here

Hindenburg (LZ-129)

2-days-to-europe-cop-webThe Hindenburg was the first airliner to provide regularly scheduled service between Europe and North America.
While the airship is better remembered for the fiery Hindenburg disaster of 1937 than for its many technological achievements, it was the fastest and most comfortable way to cross the Atlantic in its day.

Hindenburg Directory

Hindenburg: A Detailed History

Dining Room of Airship Hindenburg. (click all photos to enlarge)
Click to learn more about Hindenburg's Passenger Decks

Origins of the LZ-129 Hindenburg

The astounding success of the Graf Zeppelin had proved the viability of long range passenger transportation by airship, and by the late 1920′s, Hugo Eckener and the Zeppelin Company  were enthusiastic about building a fleet of ships specifically designed for intercontinental passenger transportation.
Hindenburg under construction
Airship Hindenburg under construction.
The ship originally planned for this role was LZ-128, which it would have been 761 feet long and lifted by 5,307,000 cubic feet of hydrogen.  But the fiery crash of the British airship R-101 in October, 1930 (in which passengers and crew were killed by the hydrogen fire that followed the crash, rather then by the impact itself) convinced the Zeppelin Company to alter its plans and develop a ship capable of being lifted by helium.
Helium is heavier than hydrogen, and therefore provides less lift, so a helium airship must be larger than a hydrogen airship to carry the same payload. The plans for the 5.3 million cubic feet LZ-128, therefore, were abandoned in favor of a design for a much larger ship, the 7 million cubic feet LZ-129, later to be named Hindenburg.
Eerily — in light of later events — the Zeppelin Company purchased 5,000 kg of Duralumin from the wreckage of the British R-101 and used the metal to fabricate components for the Hindenburg.
Airship Hindenburg under construction
Airship Hindenburg under construction.
When completed, LZ-129 was 803.8 feet long, with a diameter of 135.1 feet, and a total gas capacity of 7,062,000 cubic feet of hydrogen.
Size comparison between LZ-129 Hindenburg and Boeing 747
Hindenburg and Boeing 707
LZ-129 and its sister ship, LZ-130, are still the largest objects ever to fly.

   Read more here

Here is a modern Zeppelin the "Eureka"  the webpage is here   There are a lot of good pics of San Francisco and Oakland.

Our trip started out with a preflight briefing, security screening, then a ride out to the private section of the Oakland airport. There, we watched the arrival of the Eureka airship!

Not to be confused with a Blimp, the Eureka has a rigid internal structure. So even with the helium removed, it will retain its general shape.

Airship Ventures started operating the Eureka out of Moffett Field in November of 2008. At 246 ft long, it is the largest airship in the world.

That's our pilot Katherine 'Kate' Board. She is the only female Zeppelin pilot in the world. I believe she's British.

Eureka's 2 main engines are mounted high above the gondola, attaching to the airship's internal bracing instead. This reduces engine noise and vibrations in the cabin, and also allows for an impressively unhindered viewing experience.

The 3rd engine is mounted aft, where it drives 2 propellers. One helps control yaw (like a helicopter tail rotor), and the other pitch. The one pointed down in the picture can be swiveled upwards, where it acts as a pusher propeller during normal flight.

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