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R80 Commercial Operations

London - Paris -Rome

The R80 was in the process of being constructed when in October 1919, plans were submitted regarding the use of the ship. The war was over and with the uncertainty over future operations of the ship, Vickers' plans were expanded in detail for modifying the ship and the basis of commercial operations was formed.

Modifications to the ship:
- Addition of a saloon car for 30 people for day accommodation
- Expectation of sleeping quarters for 15 people
- Improvements to the outer cover
- Bow mooring gear to be added

Requirments for landing ground:
The rental of an area of 30 acres of level gound near London Paris and Rome would be required.

Mooring Towers
Three Mooring towers to be manufactured 120 feet high at each location to aid landing and boarding of passengers. This will also reduce the need for a large landing crew.

Timetable :-

Leave London 7.00 pm Monday Thursday
Leave Paris 12.00 midnight Monday Thursday
Arrive Rome 12.30 midday Tuesday Friday
Leave Rome 9.00 pm Tuesday Friday
Leave Paris 10.30 am Wednesday Saturday
Arrive London 2.30 pm Wednesday Saturday

It is always recommended to leave London, Paris and Rome in the cooler parts of the day to aid with lift.

Route :
The route chosen to Rome is 1,000 land miles which is within the endurance of the ship. It is expected that the ship will fly at a maximum height of 2,000 feet. The route will carry the ship over South England, then over the English Channel to Paris on a direct route. The ship will then deliver mail and passengers, and then pass down in a continued south easterly direction towards Lyon. Passing over Lyon, the ship will turn south through the Rhone Valley and continue to Nice. At Nice on the French Coast, the ship will turn easterly and skirt the coast and head towards Rome over the sea. The return course will be via the same route.

The route and duration of the main sections of the flight is expected to be as follows :-

London - Paris 220 miles 3 hours 45 minutes
Paris - Lyon 250 miles 4 hours 15 minutes
Lyon - Nice 200 miles 3 hours 15 minutes
Nice - Rome 300 miles 5 hours
Paris - Rome 750 miles 12 hours 30 minutes
London - Rome (non stop) 970 miles 15 hours 15 minutes

Crew requirements :-

The ship will have the following crew requirements :-

1 Captain
2 Navigators
4 Coxswains
8 Engineers
1 Wireless operator
2 Stewards
Total : 18

Passengers : 30 in Pullman type accommodation

Luggage Allowance :
The crew would be entitled to carry luggage weighing 30lb's
The passengers would be able to carry 50lb's of luggage.

Mail : It is expected that the ship will also be able to carry 500 lbs of mail


Detailed analisys was given regarding the running costs of the ship and the project in general. It was expected that the ship costs would be
£ 270,00 ship
£10,000 spares
Salaries : 2 commanders £ 2,000
4 Navigators : £ 2,400
30 crew : £ 8,000

The expected income of the operation from passenger and mails would be :-
Per Trip :
400lb of mail at 6lb per oz = £ 160
25 passengers at£ 64 per passenger = £ 1,600

The plans were never put in to operation as the R80 was later used for training the US crews for the ZRII and later used for testing by the National Physics Laboratories.


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