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Cosmick

'Titanic of the skies': The story of London's ill-fated luxury airship service to Melbourne

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The account I recall suggested that the departure was rushed, with inadequate testing, to meet some sort of PR deadline.

 

And that the R101 would not trim properly, and was relying on forward speed to proceed with a nose high attitude, which sounds potentially unstable to me.

 

No doubt, following such a disaster, there would be all manner of theories as to what went wrong; that is the first I have heard of the envelope splitting open.

 

 

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It is ironic that the steel salvaged from the wreck of R101 may have been used to build the Hindenburg.

 

I doubt it would have been steel recovered.  Aluminium is more likely to have been the salvage given the limited supply of it at that time.  

 

 

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Interesting side note. If you read the history in depth of those two airships, R100 was a private enterprise machine built I believe by Airspeed which was at that time owned by the author Neville Shute (A Town like Alice!) while the R101 was designed and built by a government corporation and had a lot of problems in the design and building stage. R100 was actually a successful machine but was blighted after the crash of R101.

 

 

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Read the story in "Sliderule" by Nevil Shute. He was the structural engineer on the R-100. Built by a commercial company in contest with the ill-fated R-101. (Sorry Derick Liston, rushed into print before reading your post, Don)

 

 

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After R101 crashed and burned in France, en route to India on 5 October 1930, the Air Ministry ordered R100 grounded. She was deflated and hung up in her shed at Cardington for a year whilst three options were considered:

 

  1. a complete refit of R100 and continuation of tests for the eventual construction of R102;
     
  2. static testing of R100 and retention of about 300 staff to keep the programme "ticking over";
     
  3. or retention of staff and the scrapping of the airship.
     

 

In November 1931, it was decided to sell R100 for scrap. The entire framework of the ship was flattened by steamrollers and sold for less than £600.

 

 

 

 

 

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Find it totally amazing that the entire concept of passenger airships was abandoned after a total loss of life considerably less than one airliner disaster, MH370 as just one example!

 

 

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