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Vickers Transoceanic Airship

Up to and following on the success of the R34, it was seen that the airship could transverse oceans and the original idea.The idea of linking the Empire together was born. Vickers Company had been producing airships since the original Airship Number 1, the Mayfly, and also a series of rigids during the war.

In 1919 the design concept for a passenger carrying luxury airship took shape and the Trans-Oceanic Airship was proposed. New research has uncovered some original contemporary texts. The plans for the ship were in the advanced stages as many details had been proposed, including the "Masterman" docking and mooring mast. The model of the ship as seen above, was exhibited in Amsterdam, August-September 1919. This model may also have been shown at the 6th International Aero Exhibition at Olympia in London 1920.

London - New York
A graphical reperesntaion of the proposed passenger ship

Second representation by Ron Sillence
copyright Ron Sillence

1. The passenger and Mail carrier for world routes

To this class will belong the large airships with the highest speed commercially economical, designed for the transport of passengers, mails, light express parcels and freight. It is seen that the longest non stop flight required on the cross oceanic routes was about 3,500 miles and a suitable reserve of thrity percent for adverse winds and deviation from course demanded that the design of the ship be able to carry enough fuel and oil sufficient for an endurance of 4,500 miles at normal flying speed. At the time a rigid airship of some 4,000,000 cuft of gas was proposed. The ship would have to be provided with sleeping accommodation for 100 passengers, suitable for journeys of several days in length. A general specification is as follows :-

Passenger Accommodation

Living Salon

The main living quarters would be in a salon at the top of the airship furnised with tables and chairs. Here the passengers could pass the time comfortably during the day and take their meals. Though the saloon might alternatively be a long car slung underneath the ship, the other positiion being prefrable for being far removed from the noise of the engines and propellers and unaffected by vibration. Part of the saloon deck would be fireproofed to serve as a smoking room, and an open air shelter deck would be provided aft of the saloon to allow passengers to take the air and get some exercise. Windows in the saloon wouid give a view in all directions.


Observation Saloon

Special observation saloons for passengers could be fitted fore and aft under the hull and an observation gallery at the extreme aft end. These woud command the land and sea immediatley below the ship. The long keel corridor inside the bottom of the ship might also be used as a promenade by those persons who were not satisfied with the restricted space of the shelter deck

Sleeping Quarters

Sleeping bethers with all necessary conveniences could be provided in small cabins or inside the keel space inderneath the ship.


A mess kitchen with electrically heated cooking apparatus would be situated near the main saloon in which all meals would be prepared.

Passenger Lift

A passenger lift would afford communication between the quarters on the top of the hull and the keel corridor underneath. From the latter a passage-way would run to the bow of the ship and to a connection with the mooring tower, through which passengers embark and disembark.

Gross Gass Capacity
3,500,000 cft
800 ft
Max Speed
Cruising Speed
52 mph
Endurance at max speed
75 hours/5,600 miles
Endurance at cruising speed
200 hours/ 10,000 miles
Passengers 100

Original Plan
Hull Structure

The hull would be of the most perfect streamline form permitted by constructional requirements. There would be an internal keel corridor, running along the bottom of the hull, in which all petrol and oil tanks and water ballast would be carried. It would also contain the crews sleeping and living quarters.
Outer Covering

The outer cover would be made of special weatherproof fabric able to endure for a long time the effects of continuous voyages and to insulate the gas suff iciently from any changes in tepreature to reduce variations in the lift.

The gas capacity would be distributed among a number of gas-bags made of suitable subber-proofed cotton fabric, lined with goldbeater's skins and fitted with automatic relief valves and hand controlled manoeuvering valves.
Control and Navigation Compartment.

A control and navigation compartment would be built on to the hull towards the forward end of the airship. This would contain all main controls and navigating instruments , incliding a cabin for wireless telegraphy installation. It would have windows so arranged as to give clear views in every direction.

Related ships: R34, R80

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