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Three Skyships Come Sailing

Photo Credit Den Burchmore
Photo Credit Den Burchmore
Photo Credit Den Burchmore
Photo Credit Den Burchmore
Photo Credit Den Burchmore

To see one Skyship in the sky was a treat, to see two was exceptional, but only once were there three airships in flight at Cardington.

On 24th September 1985 the latest Skyship, SK 600-02 was completed and it was decided to have it's first test flight. At the time there were two other Skyships which were in the shed, and it was decided for a fantastic and rare photo opportunity to have three ships in flight at the same time. The fleet consisted of SK 600-1, SK 500-02 and the latest 600 ship, the SK600-2.

The test flight lasted 1 hour and 5 minutes, and went without a hitch. In this time photographers were able to snap the one and only time three airships ships were sailing from Cardington.

A description by Den Burchmore of the flight:

On 24th September 1985 here at Cardington, Skyship 600-02 G-SKSD, had her maiden flight piloted by Cdr Nick Bennett. On take-off she rose gently to approximately 500 ft and trials were carried out. During this time Skyship 600-01 and 500-02 left their respective masts and on return of the other ship were able to the most wonderful display of flying. There were three airships flying in formation shooting up the airstrip in line astern chasing each other around in a circle and generally showing the versatility of the ships and the pilots' skill. There were many firsts that day at Cardington three ships together, six pilots together, display formation flying, all probably not seen since the 1920's There was also the maiden flight itself.

The maiden flight of Skyship 600-02 G-SKSD lasted one hour and fifty minutes but provided a spectacle and rare gathering of airships.

After the success of the test flight, there were two short weeks of further test flights for SK600-2, when the ship was taken back in to the shed, deflated and prepared for shipping in October 1985, to Australia where a new airship hangar had been build for it at Schofield Airport, Sydney, from where it would be based for operating advertising and Skycruise tours.

Airship Reference Registration Base Maiden Flight
SK 600-01
Cardington, Beds.
6th March 1984
SK 500-02
Cardington, Beds.
28th September 1981
SK 600-02
Schofield Airport, Sydney
24th September 1985


Related ships: R34, R80

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