A firm of British designers, John West Design Associates, unveiled their latest project on Thursday (17 April), in the spacious surroundings of an old airship hangar at Cardington, Bedfordshire.
A firm of British designers, John West Design Associates, unveiled their latest project on Thursday (17 April), in the spacious surroundings of an old airship hangar at Cardington, Bedfordshire. Newsmen and photographers were in attendance to watch the performance of a thirty foot (9.144 metres) model of the firm's "Skyship" -- described as a new concept in air transport.
The "Skyship" is basically a gas-filled balloon or airship, but the head of the firm, Mr. John West, says that a full-scale version of the model shown off on Thursday, would be easier to handle on the ground than a traditional cigar-shaped airship, and the structure is lighter and more efficient.
The radio controlled model of the "Skyship" was demonstrated in the hangar where the famous R101 airship was built and kept. Unlike its famous predecessor. Skyship is circular, not cigar-shaped, and it is filled with the inert gas helium, which does not catch fire.
"Skyship" has been designed mainly as a bulk cargo carrier requiring no major ground terminal installations on the scale of modern airports or harbours. It is designed to accept a wide variety of cargoes such as containers, vehicles or conventionally packed freight, and eventually passengers.
For military purposes "Skyship" could transport in a single lift two infantry battalions consisting of 1,600 men, 70 small vehicles, 14 large vehicles, 60 trailers and 100 tons of stores. All this could be disembarked at the exact place required. An equivalent operation using existing air transport, would involve 105 individual aircraft sorties.
When the thirty-foot model has completed its flight tests successfully, the next step will be to build a prototype "Skyship" with a diameter of about two hundred feet (about 61 metres), and a pay load of between six and ten tons. The eventual target is to produce a four hundred ton cargo-carrying Skyship within a few years.