Wednesday, 6 October 2010

R101 AIRSHIP CRASH 5 October 1930.

Eighty years ago yesterday....

Airships would be the air transport of the future it was thought in the 1920s and 30s. The R100 was built privately and made successful voyages. The Government subsidised the building of the R101 which was intended to make long distance travel to the outposts of Empire and bring prestige to Britain. An extra central bay of 35' complete with a gas bag was inserted into the airship to give additional lift and after a short test flight in calm weather a long distance flight went ahead without further trials. The Air Minister had to be on the maiden flight to India and be back in Britain by the 20th October.

The R101 left Cardington in Bedfordshire in darkness. Over France the deteriorating weather caused major problems and the airship impacted with the ground near Beauvais where it burst into flames. Forty eight people died with 8 survivors.

The photo at the top shows the gigantic airship sheds at Cardington, Beds, which dominate the flat landscape, the photo taken by Tony Margiocchi in 2009; the one below, of the skeleton of the R101 at Beauvais, comes from a site

If you're interested in a very good account of the tragedy try the site And if you're interested in the possibility of an afterlife you could read 'The Airmen who would not die' by John G. Fuller pub. 1979.

Within a few years the Hindenburg catastrophe put paid to airship travel...

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