first of the a new era of ship constructed at Cardington in
Europa Photo Gallery
at Biggin Hill - 1972 - photo courtesty of Tony Hill
Crash - photo's below courtesy of Den Burchmore collection
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
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.
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.
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
gondola, attached to the underside of the envelope had enough
accommodation for two pilots and six passengers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
you have any pictures of the Europa and would like to add them
to the photo gallery, then please contact the webmaster on the