Tuesday, December 26, 2006

In fairness to the rigid airship

The US airship Akron

The Macon..last airship made in America

The Hindenburg flying over New York.....The sad accident to the Hindenburg was the only accident to occur to a passenger airship in service. The German Airship service was 100% safer than the airplane service of the time. I will also kill the myth that the Hindenburg was on her maiden voyage. That is not true. She had already carried over a thousand passengers the year before safely. When she did crash in Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937 there were more survivors than victims.

The end of the airship...Just think if we killed off the airplane if there was one accident.....Even today the airline industry is hard pressed to have a safety record like the airship....1929-1937 no accidents

I am seeing that there plans a foot to build a massive airship of over 800 feet in length. The airship has really received had a bad rap for many years.
But to be truthful it was a very safe mode of transportation.

I know every mind turns to the Hindenburg when we think of airships. But, what other disaster comes to mind?
In the area of commercial airship service from 1929 till May of 1937. There was not one fatality on a commercial airship.
There were thousands of people transported in luxury. There was not one accident in those 8 years till the Hindenburg.

Between 1929 to 1937 there were hundreds of commercial and private airplane accidents. Killing hundreds of people.

In the accident of the Hindenburg there were less than 40 deaths. That was the only accident in the history of commercial airship service.

The American military Airship was not lucky, and was to have quite a few really dumb people in charge of them. Not all of them, there were some really sharp people, but many were not up too snuff.
There were 4 US rigid airships between 1922 till 1939. 3 of them crashed. Two were due to human error, and one was due to structural failure.

In England they tried it too, they built quite a few. Most of them crashed..Most due to human error. One was to fly to India, but that crashed just due to politics and stupidity..They over loaded it and it crashed....Amazing!!!

Italy tried it a bit, same luck....

The Germans did a great job of it. Because they knew what they were doing!!!!!

But due to political more than safety issues, the airship was doomed as a major player in transportation.

In 1935 an airplane could not cross the Atlantic, let alone the United States. They had to stop and refuel...People would be cramped inside...and a plane could carry at best 20 passengers. The airships could cross the Atlantic carrying 30 passengers. By the time of the Hindenburg, they could carry 70 passengers in amazing luxury, not to mention a large amount of cargo.

So it was all about Helium..WE had it and we did not want Germany to get it. So the loss was to the airship.

Today we have blimps..They are cute rather than functional.

So when I heard that in Germany they are going to give it a try again I was delighted. This would be for commercial freight purposes only, not for passengers...

We have become used to being put into planes like cattle...But maybe in our future we may see ocean going airships again. To take us all over the world in wonderful luxury.

Next time you get into a plane, and eat your peanuts, think of that!

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