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Goodyear Europa

The first of the a new era of ship constructed at Cardington in 1972

Goodyear Europa Photo Gallery

Europa at Biggin Hill - 1972 - photo courtesty of Tony Hill
Europa Crash - photo's below courtesy of Den Burchmore collection
 
Statistics:
Length 192ft
Diameter 45.92ft
Speed 50mph
Engines

2 x 210hp

Volume 202,700cft

In February 1968 the Goodyear Corporation initiated a $5 million expansion programme for it's airship operation. Goodyear had been a major provider of non rigid airships since the early 1920's. A decision was made in 1971 that as part of this new programme that a ship be provided for public relations operations based in Europe.

Components for the new ship, the 4th in the new fleet, were created in Akron, Ohio, the base of Goodyear operations for many decades, and loaded on board a "Guppy" transport N1037V from Akron Municipal Airport, the largest aircraft ever to fly out of the airport, then flown over to the Royal Aircraft Establishment as known at the time, Cardington.

The parts for Europa were assembled in shed number 2, and the completed ship was first moved out of the shed on 8th March 1972 when the first flight was made. Unfortunalty the successful first flight was marred shortly afterwards when on the 19th April, the ship tore away from it's mast, and the envelope deflated. The ship and envelope came to rest, ironically, the ship came to rest in a tree in the grounds of a Cotten End house, once owned by Major George Herbert Scott, of the R101. The ship was recovered and returned to the shed. The crew worked to repair the ship and a spare envelope was flown over from Akron. The ship was repaired emerged out of the Cardington shed on 25th June. Wit this the Europa was able to fulfill it's duty over the summer, including the coverage of the Munich Olympics.

The envelope of the Europa, had a surface area of 21,600 sq ft and was made of two-ply Neoprene-coated Dacron. Like the rest of the fleet, and all other airships since, was inflated with helium. On each side of the silver envelope was the livery of Goodyear airships, and the famous "winged foot" logo. The steering rudders were painted light blue with red stripe. One of the most advanced features of the ship, was the addition of a four coloured sign, consisted of 3,780 lamps which could create a flying "nightsign". The sign could be read at a distance of 1 mile at a cruising height of 1,000 ft. The power for the lamps came from a turbojet APU mounted on a removable pad on the undersurface of the ship's gondola. This was used to drive the 500A 28V generator to supply power for the lights. The turbojet was specifically designed to operate without developing any appreciable amount of forward thrust to the ship.

The gondola, attached to the underside of the envelope had enough accommodation for two pilots and six passengers.

Two twin blade metal reversible pitch pusher propellors were fixed either side of the gondola powered by two 210 h.p. six cylinder horizontally opposed air cooled engines.

As part of it's tour of duty the Europa was also based in a newly constructed hanger at Capena, in Italy, some 18 miles from Rome.

By January 1975 the Europa had flown some 4,000 hours and carried more than 20,000 passengers since it's first flight. In November,1982, it was announced that the European operation be discontinued to reduce costs in the face of a hostile takeover bid of Goodyear. The Capena Airship Facility was offered for sale.

The Europa continued to fly, and was used for many private commissions, including being an aerial T.V. platform for the weddings of HRH the Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 and also later, in 1986 for the wedding of HRH Prince Andrew to Miss Sarah Ferguson. It was in 1986 when the ship was chartered by the BBC for wildlife filming in the Carmague region of Southern France. During this time the ship was caught by a down-draught in freak torrential rain, and driven on to marshes and wrecked. The ship was eventually recovered and the Europa control car and envelope deflated were returned to the Akron Wingfoot lake facility and placed in to storage. The original damaged envelope had been repaired at this site, and stored as a spare.

Airships never die, but have a tendency to be reused. The Europa control car was rebuilt over a period of years and in 1998 it was returned in to service on a new ship named "Stars and Stripes" Goodyear model N1A. The Europa will always be seen as the return of lighter-than-air craft to the U.K.

If you have any pictures of the Europa and would like to add them to the photo gallery, then please contact the webmaster on the CONTACT page.

Related ships: {Skyship 500, Skyship 600}

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