improvements to R100 and Airship Continuity Programme
improvements to R100 & Airship Continuity Programme
noted that when the R100 returned from her Canadian voyage,
the ship was under evaluation as part of the on going requirements
of the Imperial Airship Scheme. A document has been discovered
in the Public Records Office which showed the change of
direction from the original requirements of the 1924 and1928
revisions to the Imperial Airship Scheme. The document has
an outline of the whole project but particular interest
is seen as to the modifications to the R100.
of 1930 it was seen that both the R100 and R101 would have
by this time offered some way of ascertaining the earning
capacity of airships, and also to demonstrate the possibility
of a regular airship service. It was deemed that by this
time that neither requirements had been met and it was noted
that both ships were not capable of doing so. The reasons
behind this were that the existing ships did not have suffifient
lift to give a fair indication of the possibility of regularity
of Airship flying and it's consequent regation on earning
It was not seen that any progress would be made unless new
construction and adaption was made as part of the next programme.
was hoped that by placing some of the car externally to
the ship, then this may have given more room in the gasbag
which was immediatly above the passenger accommodation.
This would have also allowed more disposable lift suitable
for more commercial operations. By removing the large passenger
areas and reviewing the use of the R100, it was seen that
the new class of ship, the R102 class be deemed more suitable
for carrying the large number of passengers as orignally
planned in the R100 and R101.
It was also planned that the R102 was also to have some
of the passenger accommodation protude from below the main
hull, and so this could have been seen as early concepts
for part of the planned external smoking lounge for the
R102. The passenger capacity of the R102 was deemed to be
a realistic 50 passengers and so the potential reduction
in cabin numbers and configuration on the revised R100 would
have been realistic in line with the plans as discovered.
of data :
Minisrty File Note from LGS Reynolds to the Direcort of
Airship Development dated 28 August 1930:
out improvements to R100 and R101 such as modifications to
passenger accommodation in both ships, fit dieselised condors
to R100 and possibly fit a new bay to the ship"
details exist regarding the actual plans however the following
images were found in the AHT archive relating to a "Scheme
C" showing the R100 with a long external passenger car
affixed to the hull behind the existing control car. The location
of the control car would have moved forward approximalty 20
feet of it's existing postion on the R100.
showing the interior of the proposed R100 external cabin space.
Policy Development and Continuity - 1929
a personal statement issued on 13th September 1930 by
C Buloch to H C T Dowding shows a very interesting insite
in to the state of the Airship Programme which seems
to have been largely overlooked by many sources. The
document proved to be seen as a snapshot of the situation
with regards to the programme moving forward.
was seen that the initial phase was the "teething
period" for large airship design and construction
was largely over and the unforseen difficulties should
not arise in the case of the new ships which are to
be in the main "scaled up" editions of the
were not to be submitted at the forthcoming Imperial
Conference as it was viewed that at this would be
unjust at this date/stage. Understanding that the
quote given at the 1926 Imperial Conference had not
been met with R100 and R101, and also the ships at
present cannot operate with useful loads without additional
masts at Malta and Baghdad. A prudent course of action
as it seemed at this stage the scheme had provided
very little of what they said it would in the original
conference back in 1926.
could be released were the plans were which were to
look at building some of the new ships in July 1931,
the proposed moovable mooring tower would have be
delivered by May 1931. The R100 would have an extra
was seen that the crux of the commercial operation
is the view of reularity of operation before they
were to embark on the construction of the new ships
for the R100 were underway and noted in this documentation.
It was stated that it would take "6 months for
the outer cover to be put on the ship as the material
was not ready to put in the new bay, which would take
some 7- 8 months to install. It was urged that this
would be done on the recovering of the ship. It would
be no more difficult as had been with the R101".
Both the R100 and R101 were planned to be the workhorses
of the England - Egypt route, but is was noted that
the Malta Mast had to be constructed if both ships
were to carry workable loads. A final note planned
both ships to carry out occasional flights to the
Canadian and Indian provinces to keep thier interests
alive and show that airships were part of the communication
plans. The R102 and R103 would be suitable for these
routes as working airships.
were considered as a fair income from the ships when
operational. Fares charged for the flights were outlined
200 each way to Montreal for the first 18 months
£150 each way to Karachai
It was noted that these figures were not unreasonable
whilst airships remained "a novelty". After
this time the fairs be reduced to compete with the
Imperial Airways charges :-
fares via Airship
is the full specifics of the 1930 programme
Full Details of the Programme issued by G S Reynolds:-
As promised I now forward the programme of Airship
Developement which is recommened as a basis for consideration
at the Imperial conference and also and estimate of
the cost of the Programme which covers a period of
new programme might be looked upon as a Programme
of Airship Demonstration Services.
Services would appear to be an essential preliminary
to Commercial Services financed by Private Enterprise.
these servces we should have to endeavour to :-
Ascertain the earning capactiy of an Airship
2) Demonstrate the possible regularity of Airship
3) Obtain some reliable data in regard to perating
and maintenance costs.
do not think we can hope to do either 1 or 2 with
the existing ships; they havce not sufficient lift
to give a fiar indication of the possible regularityof
Airship Flying and it's consequence reaction on earning
capacity. I feel therefore we shall not be making
any real progress toward Commerical Services unless
new construction is included as part of the next programme.
Much data in regard to operating and maintenance costs
might be obtained with operations of existing ships.
the main items of the Programme recommended as as
Commence construction of one new Airship.
Order second mooring tower for Cardington to be
completed as soon as possible. Until this Tower
is provided the operations of the R100 and R101
concurrently must be strictly limited.
Order new Shed for Cardington to be completed
as soon as possible.
Lenghten both No 1 and No 2 Sheds at Cardington
Continue experiments with Transporter Tower and
Continue mooring tower experiments.
Carry out improvements to R100 and R101 such as
modifications to passenger accommodation in both
ships, fit dieselised Condors to R100 and possibly
a new bay to that ship.
Operations with R100 and R101 on the Atlantic
during the Summer months and on the Egypt route
during the Winter months and certain operations
and experiements from Karachi. A total of 1,500
hours for the two ships.
The selection of sites and the provision of Mooring
towers in the Maritime Provinces, Matla and Middle
Provision of certain additional ground facilities
and equipment for operations purposes at Cardington,
Ismailia, and Karachi, such as improved ydrogen
facilities, accommodation,etc, to be completed
by middle of third year.
Continue the development of Meterological and
Wireless organisation on the Indian and Atlantic
routes and commence investigation in to Winter
flying conditions on the Atlantic route to Canada.
Provision of spares for existing ships.
New shed to be completed by the middle of this
Commence assembly of Airship.
No2 Mooring tower completed earlier this year.
Provision of transporter tower and handling rails
for Karachi to be completed by middle of third
Operations with R100 and R101 as in first year,
but a total say 3,000 hours flying for the two
ships during the year.
new ship to be completed in the middle of this
year, i.e. 2 1/2 years from the commencement of
Operations with the new ship and existing ships
will be again as in previous years, but schedule
flights to be attempted.
have made provision for spares for existing ships
on a reasonable liberal basis as far as fabric, engines
and miscellaneous replacements are concerned. No provision
has been made for engine experiemental work other
than prvided for in the spare engines.
is understood you require some estimate of the cost
of Airship Services. As you know from time to time
many figures have been worked out, but we really have
no data at present on which to form a reliable estimate.
7,5000,000 cubic feet ship which we propose should
be built, would carry 50 passengers and 5 tons of
freight under the worst conditions either on the Indian
or Atlantic route provided the additional tower facilites
mentioned above are availalbe.
we assume passenger fares at 150 and a full load,
2 tons of mails at say 10/- per lb, you will see than
an airship with this performance shouls be able to
earn well over 20,000 on a round trip.
if they are to pay, will undoubtebly have to fly about
3,000 hours per year and when this amount of flying
can be got out of an airshipthe revenue from each
ship will clearly be very large.
regard to possible earnings during this programme
I think they might be put at 50,000 for the first
year, 75,000 for the second year and say 1,250,000
for the third. when the first new ship will also be
earnings from existing ships will clearly depend as
to what alterations are made to improve their lift.
The amount of flying which they can carry out will,
I think, be found to depend largely on the engine
it was decided to beuild two ships at R.A.W. the second
to be completed as soon as possible after the first
it is considered the second ship could be ready for
trials 8 months after the first, or early in the 4th
second new shed would be required at Cardington and
would be available by the time the first ship is completed
to allow the erection of a second ship to commence
immediatly following the completion of the first.
As already pointed out, however, the estimates attached
are on the basis of one new ship.
following are figures which have been finally put
up to the Secretary and are being put to the Secretary
of State in this connection :-
Capital works services at RAW and Atlantic and Indian
two new airships and experimental work
Flying with R100 and R101 and R102 (gas, fuel, oil,
rations etc ) crews and operating personnel; improvements
to R100 and R101 the provision of spares, engines etc
for four years
Maintenance of base including RAW for four years
Normal A in A
you know, the Secreatary has suggested to the Secretary
of State that these figures might be increased by
20%. This would make the total about 3,300,000.
is essential that the new AMSR should have before
him in detail the figures leading up to the total
given above, and he is taking over on Monday next.
You will therefore appreciate the need for urgency.