The airship, or grigible balloon
The airship, or grigible balloon, has the enclosing envelope for the gas of a cylindrical shape, with disked or cigarshaped ends, and somewhat resembles a torpedo in appear, ance. There are two distinct types of dirigibles: (I) the rigid type, to which belong the various “ Zeppelin ” airships, and which is favoured chieﬂy by the German military authorities; (2) the non-rigid type, of which “La République” and “ La Patric” airships are examples, and which the French favour most. The ichthyoid form of body offers the least resistance in the air, but even this balloon would never have been a success had it not been for the advent of the petrol engine, which as an aero-motor is a triumph of engineering skill. By means of this motive power the propeller is driven at a great speed and propels the airship along, and with a rudder it is possible to guide the airship. It can even travel against adverse winds, if not blowing too strongly, and also raise itself upwards from the ground, and sail along in a horizontal direction.
MM. Gifford and De Lorne experimented, in 1852, with dirigible balloons. Gifford’s elongated balloon was 100 feet long, 40 feet diameter; steam was the motive power. A 3 horse-power engine drove a two-bladed screw propeller. The envelope was inﬂated with coal gas, and a triangular shaped rudder was used. Gifford ascended from Paris, on September 24, 1852, and got a velocity of from 4.1, miles to 6% miles per hour.
The brothers Tissandier, in 1875, voyaged, in 24 hours, in an airship from Paris to Bordeaux. In 1884, in France, an elliptical balloon (an electric motor driving the screw propeller) was navigated for 7 miles against the wind, and was safely brought back to the starting place.
M. Santos Dumont, the Brazilian, made an airship of a cylindrical shape with cone-shaped ends, length 83 feet, diameter 12 feet. The envelope contained 6500 cubic feet of gas; there was a small compensating balloon inside, containing 880 cubic feet. The airship was ﬁtted with a petrol motor. He ascended from the Jardin d’Acclimation, Paris, and made several sweeps of 100 yards’ radius in the air. With a larger airship, 110 feet long, and driven by a four-cylinder petrol engine of 12 horse-power, he won the Deutsch prize by sailing from the Aero Club grounds at St. Claud, Paris, round the Eiffel Tower and back.
Count Zeppelin, near Wurtemburg, experimented with airships, and eventually promoted a company with a capital, and so he was able to construct a very large airship, 420 feet long, 40 feet diameter (Fig. 4). The framework was composed of aluminium, and was divided into 17 compartments, each of which contained an inﬂated gas balloon made of Oiled cotton. A steering apparatus was placed fore and aft on an aluminium platform, and two “ Damlier” petrol engines of 16 horse-power drove a four bladed propeller at 1000 revolutions per minute. There were two aluminium cars suspended from the balloon ,- they could carry the Count and four persons. In ]uly, 1908, in his airship “Zeppelin, No. 4,” he left the German shore of Lake Constance, ﬂew across to Schaffhausen, thence to Lucerne and back again to his starting point, taking about 12 hours to do the journey round the Swiss Alps. The “Zeppelin” army balloon has now been ofﬁcially adopted by the German army, with its headquarters at
Metz. This balloon is said to be able to carry from 20 to 30 passengers, is 440 feet long, and has two 20 horse-power petrol motors.
It was announced (May, 1909) that arrangements between the Zeppelin Airship Building Co. and the Zeppelin Airship Passenger Transportation Co. have been made, and they give out that a regular passenger “air line” will be put into operation before long,- and the ﬁrst line will connect Lucerne or Friedrichshafen with Berlin and Northern Germany w'ri Frankfort-on-Maine. The ﬁrst airship race in Germany took place in May, 1909, between two military airships—Gross II. and Parseval II. ——to test the comparative speeds. The result was a dead heat, as both airships made the same time, namely, 15 minutes to_ the turn and 15 back.
An aerial ﬂeet is being built in Germany, and the Company expect to have 10 airships ready by autumn, 1910, consisting of 4 Zeppelin, 3 Percival, and 3 Gross type of airships.
Mr. Spencer also experimented with an airship 75 feet long and 20 feet in diameter. It was furnished with a petrol engine and screw propeller. He steered this airship over London, going from the Crystal 'Palace to Harrow. Walter Wellman, with his large airship, lying at Spitsbergen , intends making an expedition with it to the North Pole. It is one of the largest airships ever constructed. The balloon is 184 feet long, 52 feet at greatest diameter, and its cubic volume is 265,000 cubic feet. The car consists of a framework of steel tubing, 115 feet long, 10 feet high, 8 feet wide, suspended under the balloon. The keel consists of a steel tank, 18 inches diameter, and 115 feet long, with a capacity for holding 1200 gallons of petrol (6000 lbs. of gasoline), divided into 14 compartments to prevent danger from explosion. The car is enclosed with
tightly stretched Silk, the two sides forming a vertical plane, and the wide roof a horizontal plane. At the stern is a large rudder. There are two petrol motors of 45 and 60 horse-power respectively, and a small motor to compress the air to ﬁll the internal or small balloon, which is contained inside the large one, and which is compensatory to the large one. The living quarters of the airship are in the triangtilar spaces within the enclosed steel car. A crew of three is carried with sledges and dogs, and provisions for one year. There is a long guide-rope from this balloon which will trail along the surface of the ground, as the balloon will not ascend beyond 400 feet. The rope is of leather, 15 inches diameter, and I 50 feet long, packed full of provisions, and is suspended by means of a steel rope. The rope is covered with steel tape to protect the leather. It will ﬂoat on water.
A British airship has been built and tried at Farnborough Common, near Aldershot. It is 100 feet long, 35,000 cubic feet capacity, and has two motors of 12 horse-power each. Two of a crew are carried in the car.
“La Republique” airship (non-rigid type) which was lost in a storm, is shown in Fig. 5, and the “Parseval” airship, being ﬁlled with gas at Zurich, is shown in Fig. 6.