Airships Article

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by TheRubySusan, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    Oh, dear. No HTML. Well, theatlantic.com has a cool article dated Oct 11, 2013 under its In Focus section called "Airships" with photos from 1905 to 2013. If grebeman sees this post, I learned from #13 that dirigibles could carry fighter planes named for him, Gloster Grebes.

    Is this even the right section to post this?
     
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  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    • Like Like x 4
  3. Richard

    Richard SC Top Veteran

    564
    Feb 1, 2013
    Marlow, UK
    Some captivating images there. I found Number 15 (the airship standing on its nose at Lakehurst) the most interesting. Never seen that one before.

    -R
     
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  4. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    My grandfathers built the big American airships in Akron Ohio in the late 1920's. The hangar is still in use as a research facility.
     
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  5. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    ^ both of them? That's pretty cool! :smile:
     
  6. Richard

    Richard SC Top Veteran

    564
    Feb 1, 2013
    Marlow, UK
    I saw a very interesting TV documentary about World War One Zeppelin raids a few weeks ago.

    They were trying to figure out why it was so difficult for contemporary fighter planes to shoot them down. You'd think that a big, slow-moving bag of hydrogen would be just the most vulnerable thing in which to go to war, but it turns out it was surprisingly hard to set them alight. Regular bullets would pass right through the internal gas balloons and the airships would survive the resulting slow leaks. Even specially developed burning bullets didn't work, as they couldn't set light to the hydrogen in the absence of oxygen. The eventual solution was to equip the fighter planes with magazines containing a mixture of burning bullets and exploding bullets. The exploding bullets would tear bigger holes in the gas balloons, so that enough air would mix with the hydrogen for the burning bullets to start a fire.

    The other thing which surprised me was that the gas balloons inside the Zeppelins were made out of huge numbers of cows' intestines - about 200,000 of them were needed for every airship. This heavy demand eventually resulted in a national shortage of cow's intestines, so in order that the assembly of Zeppelins wasn't held up, the German authorities banned the production of sausages.

    -R
     
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  7. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    Here's the place they worked. It doesn't look much different today, except the low flat building in the foreground spoils the perspective on how big the hangar is - about 270 feet tall and nearly 1200 feet long, housing one 'dirigible' airship that was almost 800 foot long. It was the largest building in the world for decades afterward, when Akron Ohio was one of the largest cities in the U.S. (25th largest?), and Goodyear, Firestone, Goodrich et al were some of the biggest American corporations.

    Akron01_s.
     
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  8. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    How cool!
     
  9. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    That makes sense, but in a very bizarre sort of way! The things I learn on this site!
     
  10. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    This thread was incredibly informative. Loved the article / pics.
     
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  11. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Living as I do not far from Farnborough, in Hampshire, one of the cradles of British avation, I used the skeleton of one of the old airship hangars there as a backdrop for some photos of my friend Nick a couple of years ago:

    19666417.4caefe6b.1024.
    Nick 14 par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    This photo has been christened "Great Exalted President for Life of Nickistan" and has been made into stamps...

    27368979.ff58eb37.640.
    nick for sale par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    ...while here is a more dignified long-shot from the same shoot, that actually shows a bit more of the hangar:

    27368977.da983358.1024.
    Nick 10 par Lightmancer, on ipernity
     
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  12. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    If Nick ever decides to record a CD, that b&w is the perfect cover.
     
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  13. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    Wow! Are they preserving the hangar as a monument (I hope!), or just waiting for entropy to do its work (I fear!)
     
  14. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    I grew up about a mile from where the Hindenburg went down at Lakehurst. That hanger is still there. The structure is so large that it actually gets weather inside - as in clouds form near the ceiling/roof.
     
  15. donlaw

    donlaw SC All-Pro

    Sep 14, 2012
    Texas
    Don
    Just got around to looking over that article. Very cool photos. There is a sort of romanticism associated with airships. They frequently show up in popular culture.
    If you ever watched Fringe (a JJ Abrams TV show) the characters in a parallel universe were sometimes identified by the modern use of airships.
     
  16. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    They pop up in steampunk anime, too. And there was a wonderful bicentennial (oops, I'm dating myself!) parrallel worlds book called "The Whenabouts of Burr" that featured an airship named after the American president Chester A. Arthur in one of it's "threads." After I read the book, I had to go look up Chester A. Arthur to confirm that he was actually an American president!
     
  17. donlaw

    donlaw SC All-Pro

    Sep 14, 2012
    Texas
    Don
    Oh President Arthur, wasn't he responsible for round table in the Oval Office?
     
  18. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    It's a monument. A centrepiece, in fact, of a development around it. Farnborough has a proud aviation history and hosts a major air show every two years.

    Sent from another Galaxy
     
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  19. NickLeon

    NickLeon New to SC

    3
    Jun 14, 2012
    The use of cow's intestines - known as goldbeater's skin - originated with a business in the UK run by the Weinling family that made small toy balloons. One of the first commanders of the British Balloon Factory (the origin of Farnborough as an aviation centre in late 19th Century btw) had the idea of making full-sized balloon covers in the same way.
    On the point about shooting down Zeppelins - very early in the war, one suggested method to bring them down involved flying above the Zep, then lobbing a grappling hook over the cockpit side. This was intended to snag hold of the Zeppelin's 'skin'. At the other end of the rope was an explosive charge which you were then expected to chuck over the side before flying away asap. I don't think this was ever tried in practice - fortunately for the pilots.
     
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  20. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    As I read this I couldn't help but think of the SNL skit with Kirk Douglas called What If Spartacus Had A Piper Cub. If you haven't seen it, treat yourself to a good laugh.
     
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