The R102, R103 and R104 had
been planned and the concept specifications showed that they would
carry up to 150 passengers. At Cardington, the design team had
already started plans for this next generation. The R102 initially
was to have a volume of 8,300,000 cubic feet which would have
made it comparable to the LZ129 "Hindenburg", which
was completed some 6 years later.
Designated "Project H", R102 had been agreed in the
August of 1930 with a capacity some 36% larger than the lengthened
R101. It was to be built at Cardington and was to be powered by
seven improved Tornado engines.
Discussions during 1929 and 1930 centred on a still larger ship
of 9,500,000 cubic feet capacity - the R103, although it was not
yet designated as such. As quoted by Sir Peter Masefield, "This
ship would be capable of regular operations with a non stop travel
to Egypt with a substantial payload. The ship would then move
on with stops at Karachi, Rangoon and Singapore to Australia.
It was expected to reach westwards to Montreal non stop in all
However it was agreed that Project H (R102) could carry out the
same duties being a smaller ship if additional masts were built
for refueling. Plans and land surveys were carried out at Malta
and Baghdad on the India route, and at Monkton, New Brunswick
on the Canadian route.
The future plans also included the lengthening of the Cardington
sheds and the building of one new shed capable of accommodating
two ships side by side. An additional mast would also have to
be built so that the R100 and R101 could run and operate services
The provisional specifications of the new R102 were:
(originally planned 8,300,000 cft)
7 reversible Tornado engines Two Wing cars and three aft
cars with two engines in tandem (tractor and pusher)
Impression of the R102 designed and copyright Peter Lewry
It was seen that a 35ft extra
bay would be added to the already lengthened R101 design, giving
the centre section of the ship a more "horizontal" section.
The additional bay fitted centrally to provide the maximum sized
gasbag and more lift. Also it 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 immediately above the passenger accommodation.
This would have also allowed more disposable lift suitable for
more commercial operations.It was also planned that the R102 was
also to have some of the passenger accommodation protrude 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 for a longer voyage duration.
The plans of the R102 have
not been discovered, but the uncovering of the potential conversion
plans of the R100, have lead to the "speculation" that
the "142ft external car" would have looked like the
artist impression shown here
cubic feet ship which was proposed to 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
facilities are available. The difference in the design from the
R100 and R101, show that more realistic approach had been learnt
from the designs of the forerunners. The idea that a non stop
regular service would only be appropriate if the ship would have
more disposable lift.
The flight plans for the future
years were as follows :
1930-Summer 1933 : Construction
in extended Cardington Shed
1933 : R102 Home trials within the UK over summer on completion
1934 : First International flight - destination to be decided
It was assumed
that passenger fares were £150 and a full load, 2 tons of
mails at say 10/- per LB, it was seen that than an airship with
this performance should be able to earn well over £20,000
on a round trip.
The single fare was to be
£150, being comparable with that charged by Imperial Airways
on its London to Delhi route. It was also agreed and plans were
underway, that the tickets would be issued in agreement with a
commercial travel agent to undertake the passenger administration
and distribution of tickets.
With obtaining the information
in this page from a variety of sources from the National Archives,
and Sir Peter Masefield's "To Ride the Storm" has enabled
us to provide this information. If you have any updates to the
material presented here then please contact
the AHT webmaster.
Special thanks to Peter Lewry
for his graphical representations of the R102