Airship: Design, Development and Disaster

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9781591140344: Airship: Design, Development and Disaster

Airship charts the history of lighter-than-air craft from the continental pioneers of the late 19th century through to European airship stationsin the Great War, Germany's pre-eminent commercial and military zeppelins, the construction of British behemoths R100 and its sistership R101 and the calamitous losses of US Akron in 1933 and LZ129 Hindenburg in 1937, events which ultimately heralded the end of largescale airship production. The historical development of airships is seen to be protracted and fractious, as the armed forces of leading European countries and the U.S. explored commercial applications while trying to develop them for military use.

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About the Author:

John Swinfield is a former Fleet Street and BBC/ITV reporter and producer with Nationwide (BBC1) and The Money Programme (BBC2). He lives in England.

Review:

A fantastic study Let's talk book of the month Readable, entertaining and authoritative Flightpath Magazine Excellent book Nautilus Telegraph Elegant, glamorous and doomed, the romantic appeal of the airship is hard to resist. Everyone knows the tragic saga of Germany's Zeppelins - Hindenburg, like RMS Titanic, is a common metaphor for disaster - but the story of British airships is equally dismaying. And the US Navy had its own grim record of airship catastrophes. This book recounts the sad, brief history of airships, with particular focus on Britain's experience. It is a tale of wishful thinking, bureaucratic cover-up, over-ambitious technology, ferocious inter-service rivalry, design compromises driven by cost-cutting accountants, and shattered dreams. -- Mike Markowitz Defense Media Network Airships represent a tremendously appealing, glamorous and perhaps even romantic technology that has completely failed. Once it was viewed as incredibly promising and interesting for a wide range of applications - for military purposes and for long range transportation of goods and people. Then came the disasters of USS Akron in 1933 and the huge German Zeppelin LZ129 Hindenburg in 1937 and the rapid development of the airplane, and suddenly the idea of the airship was dead. 'Born in hope and died in tragedy', as the author John Swinfield (p.245) so eloquently puts it. Airship is a great book about the somewhat sad history of airships. The focus is on Britain's experience, but there is much also about airships in America and Germany. I especially liked the many descriptions of the main characters and personalities that drove the development of this exciting technology. Navyfiction.com

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