new Sentinel 1000 was the latest edition to the Skyship fleet
and became classed as the largest Airship in the world at the
1000 was developed following the advancements of the Skyship 600
and was seen as an intermediary sized ship for gaining experience
for the forthcoming Sentinel 5000 project which was progressing
in the early 1990's. At the time Airship Industries had gone in
to partnership with Westinghouse Incorporated who was a major
shareholder for the U.S. production and operations.
Sentinel 1000 was again a move forward in existing skyship design,
taking proven ideas and production concepts from the previous
design and adapting them with new designs. The gondola was an
existing Skyship 600 gondola, and the same power plant of Twin
Porsche 930/67 turbo-charged engines giving 300 hp. The envelope
was much larger, by 30ft in length and 5 ft in diameter but this
gave the ship an extra 88,000 cft of gas in the envelope. The
total disposable load of this was 5,962lbs. To distribute the
weight qually on landing, the landing gear was adapted by adding
2 more landing gear, giving a distinctive "tri-gear"
landing arrangement. Another adaption on the original design was
the change from a standard "+ - cruciform" configuration
tailfin to an "x" configuration. This had been previously
used in U.S. airships in the 50's and 60's. The advantage of this
was for larger enveloped airships giving ample clearance on take-off
when the nose of the ship is pulled "up".
The ship was to operate at a cruising speed of 62 mph at a cruising
altitude of between 1,000 to 4,000 ft with a maximum altitude
of 8,000 ft.
ship was under trail in 1994, however disaster struck in 1995
in the Weeksville Hanger in the US where the ship had been constructed.
On August 3rd 1995, Airdock #2 was destroyed by fire in early
hours of morning, WAI Sentinel 1000 (largest airship in the world)
destroyed in hangar at 12:55 AM.
airship Hangar at Weeksville, NC was the largest wood construction
building in the world, measuring half a mile long by 298' wide
by 192' high with 180 ton doors mounted on railroad tracks. Constructed
in 1942, it housed US Navy Airship Squadron ZP-14, protector of
Hampton Roads and Outer Banks shipping lanes from German U-Boats.
1966, the decommissioned facility was sold to Westinghouse. In
1989 Westinghouse changed it's operations and moved the aerostat
operation to TCOM, L.P. Commercial Skyships seen in the U.S.A.
such as "Bud One", "Fuji", and "Met Life"
were built there.
August 3, 1995, during reconstruction of the door supports, the
Hangar burned to the ground, causing $100 million in damage. The
Sentinel 1000 was destroyed in the blaze, and not reconstructed.
The company, Airship Management Services, now operate a fleet
of skyships, and also include in thier availablility a Sentinel
1000, which they would be able to construct for operators.
Images and photos reproduced by kind permission and copyright"
Airshipworld" - Laurie Soffe and thanks to Jean-Pierre Lauwers
for providing additional information on the ship.