new Sentinel 1000 was the latest edition to the Skyship fleet
and became classed as the largest Airship in the world at the
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
In 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
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.