to the little known category of British built "private"
airships, the "Bournemouth" was constructed by the Airship
Club launched in 1951. As part of the club, Lord Ventry, Squadron
Leader T.P. York-Moore and a small group of enthusiasts wanted
to prove that airships could still return after the closure of
the British Airship programme in 1932.
project was funded largely by private enthusiasm, however the
Bournemout Corporation made a substantial grant from it's "Festival
of Britain" funds to assist with the completion of the craft
and for it's first flight. This is how the British south coast
resort managed to have an airship named after it. The idea being
that the completed ship would play a part in the local celebrations
of the Festival of Britain year.
keep costs down, the Bournemouth was not to have a home "base"
and the following quote from "Flight Magazine" 1950
of the most expensive items in the construction of an airship
must be a hangar and at the present time it is one which, in a
private venture, would be virtually impossible of achievement.
Surprisingly, however, an airship is quite amenable to being tethered
in the open, and we are assured by Lord Ventry that, with the
aid of a protective screen of trees, a small non-rigid can safely
ride out a 70 m.p.h. gale if properly picketed. This, therefore,
is the plan for the Bournemouthshe will be kept inflated,
and out-of-doors, during all spells of operational activity that
promise to be fairly continuous."
someone to fly the ship was to prove an interesting issue for
the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as the idea behind the project
was to give members of the Club an opportunity of flying in the
ship and of learning to pilot it
an issue noted in "Flight" magazine as
present anybody who aspires to pilot an airship must hold a 1st,
2nd or 3rd class Airship Pilot's Licence (according to the size
of the craft)having first qualified by securing a private
or commercial Balloon Pilot's Licenceand a Navigator's Ticket.
There is, it seems, no lighter-than-air equivalent of the Provisional
Pilot's Licence, so the eager pupils of the Airship Club are,
clearly, going to present the Ministry of Civil Aviation with
some new problems when the time comes."
ship was constructed at Cardington, and the third flight was not
overly successful as the ship crash landed on the hanger roof
when a guy rope snagged when coming in to land. The film clip
below interestingly shows optimism and spirit of the day.
a gross lift 3,060lb and useful lift of 13,000lb, the Bournemouth
managed 3 flights in 1951 and then put in for repairs and a chance
for the improvements for stability following the crash landing.
A further eight flights were managed in 1952. It was found that
the first set of steering planes were too small and made her unstable
and she had a top plane on the first two testing flights of in
1951, however this was removed. In 1952 a larger set of de Havilland
planes were fitted and made the ship quiet controllable. Only
eleven flights were made through lack of funds, the last flight
made on 16th August 1952, Battle of Britain Day.
you have any personal memories or photo's you would like to share
of this little known ship, then please contact the webmaster
and we'll be happy to add them to the site for you