Tag Archives: airships

1868 – Horse Drawn Airplane

“A sea captain, Jean Marie Le Bris (1817-1872) observed the flight of the Albatross. He caught some of the birds and analysed the interaction of their wings with air. Le Bris built a glider, inspired by the shape of the Albatross and named L’Albatros artificiel. During 1856 he flew briefly on a beach, the aircraft being placed on a cart towed by a horse. He flew reportedly to a height of 100 m for a distance of 200 m.Wikipedia

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More Steampunk Aircrew

Steampunk cosplay is near and dear to my heart since I both write Steampunk books, and I cosplay Steampunk.  For those who do not know, Steampunk is science fiction from the Age of Steam, or roughly 1830 to 1900, during the reign of Queen Victoria and the American civil war and wild west days.  For more steampunk, type “steampunk” or “steampunk aircrew” into my search box on my home page.  Now… if you could only hire some for your next airship crew, who would you pick?


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Steampunk Aircrew

The latest installment of Steampunk Aircrew.  You are outfitting a new airship, who do you hire as crew.  The following are some applicants.  Choose wisely as you cannot afford them all.  Do you want to fight for the Queen?  for Freedom?  Be a merchant, a pirate, an explorer or a conqueror?  (For previous posts, type “Steampunk Aircrew” into the search block on my home page.)

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Top 10 Airship Disasters

I actually did not know there were this many airship disasters, even though I thought I had a pretty good working knowledge of airships and their history.  I could not have even named ten of them, much less the top 10.  This is a very interesting article.

The top 10 worst Airship Disasters can be found at this link:


I have reposted three of them here for your enjoyment, for the rest, please click the link above:


1.  April 4, 1933: USS Akron

The biggest airship disaster by far occurred when the USS Akron crashed on April 4, 1933, off the coast of New Jersey. The Akron was a rigid airship belonging to the U.S. Navy, and along with the Hindenburg, to this day it holds the record as the largest helium-filled airship. It could store 20,000 gallons of gasoline, giving it a range of up to 10,500 miles. It was indeed a remarkable airship in many ways.


Before the fateful crash, the Akron had experienced three other more minor accidents, including one that occurred on May 11, 1932, when two crew members plunged to their death from mooring lines (pictured here).

On the day of the final disaster, the Akron took off and was soon in the midst of extremely bad weather. Yet matters were about to take a turn for the worse. Violent winds tore off rudder cables and pushed the airship down tail-first into the rough Atlantic, where it quickly broke into pieces and sank, killing 73 men. Just three lucky survivors were rescued from the sea. And in a further tragedy, a blimp sent out to look for survivors also crashed, causing the deaths of two more.


The USS Shenandoah, which crashed on September 2, 1925, killing 14 of her crew


The loss of the Akron marked the end of the era of Navy airships, in the same way the Hindenburg disaster spelled an end for commercial Zeppelins. Airplanes took over where airships left off and became the vehicles of choice for modern air travelers.

Even so, nowadays, with the high cost of fuel, people are again turning to these gas-filled craft, especially for cargo transport. Thus, there’s always the chance that these stately ships may someday grace the skies as they once did – albeit hopefully with less disastrous consequences.

2. October 5, 1930: British R101

At 731 feet long, the R101 was the world’s largest airship until the Hindenburg came along. This giant aircraft was built in the hope that it would be able to complete long-distance routes around the British Empire, including flights to Canada and India.


Unfortunately, the R101 only made one overseas flight – which also turned out to be its last. There were discussions beforehand about whether the airship had been tested sufficiently to attempt the long trip to India, yet a decision was made that it could make the voyage. So it was that on October 4, 1930, the R101 set out in wet and windy weather.


On October 5, the airship was flying over France when it suddenly took a dive and then a second dive, resulting in it hitting the ground. This forced landing is not what destroyed the ship, however. Rather, it was the exploding gasbags and the flames that proceeded to devour the aircraft. Of the 54 people on board, the lives of 48 were taken in the crash.

3. December 21, 1923: French Navy’s Dixmude

The Dixmude started out with the German Navy as theLZ-114, but was later given to the French as part of war reparations. Renamed by the French, the Dixmude was put through several rigorous test flights over the Mediterranean, including a record-breaking 118-hour flight to Algeria over the Sahara Desert.


The Dixmude‘s last journey began early on December 21, 1923, when it attempted a test flight between Sicily and Tunisia. The airship encountered a storm and is believed to have been struck by lightning, which caused it to explode. According to news sources, 48 men on board were killed.


It was a few days before the body of the lieutenant in charge of the airship was discovered. Shortly afterwards, parts of the ship’s cabin and a burned flag were found. The rest of the airship, though, was lost at sea forever.

AGAIN, for the rest of them, click link above.  Thanks!




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