The Death of a Dirigible -
August 6, 2002 9:06 AM   Subscribe

The Death of a Dirigible - "The airship Shenandoah, nose to her high mooring mast, was floating gracefully with the variable breezes. Her twenty gas bags were about 91% full; her tanks loaded with 9,075 pounds of water and 16, 620 pounds of gasoline..." I was fascinated by this account of the disaster that befell the Navy airship 'Shenandoah', marking the beginning of the end of the era of rigid bodied airships. [ Via a comment on /. ]
posted by GriffX (14 comments total)
Another great source for information about aviation in New Jersey (a surprisingly important place for early aviation) is Dover's P icture History of Aviation on Long Island:1908-1938Ï
posted by interrobang at 9:32 AM on August 6, 2002

End of an era?
posted by aaronscool at 9:32 AM on August 6, 2002

The Shenandoah has nothing on Metafilter. We've got like ten thousand gas bags!
posted by Skot at 9:36 AM on August 6, 2002

Not filled with helium either. Thank god we have all those wet blankets in MetaTalk then... there might be a spark or something.
posted by y2karl at 10:03 AM on August 6, 2002

Yes, with us it's definitely natural gas.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:45 AM on August 6, 2002

Very well-written article.

We've got like ten thousand gas bags! :) heh heh!
posted by bullitt 5 at 10:47 AM on August 6, 2002

GriffX, reading that account made my half hour on the stairmaster fly by. Thanks for the link.
posted by vito90 at 12:11 PM on August 6, 2002

did someone say airship?
posted by quonsar at 1:31 PM on August 6, 2002

"Men tumbled out like spilled oranges..."

ah poetry!

end of an era? quite possibly
posted by gravelshoes at 2:03 PM on August 6, 2002

did someone say airship?

No more scaring the bats out of the Art Bel(l)fry, then...

He'll be so disappointed.
posted by y2karl at 2:56 PM on August 6, 2002

vito90 - thanks! I read it raptly as well. Did you read it on a pda or sumthin?

The thing I was most struck by in this story was the description of the looting that took place afterwards. I was aghast about that part, but then again, this was brand-new tech, unknown by most people at the time, this being well before the uniform news and media saturation we're all stewing in today. You might compare it to what the reaction would be now if a UFO crashed in the middle of a city. I imagine alien space-uniforms and probably severed apendages would be on eBay within hours.
posted by GriffX at 5:12 PM on August 6, 2002

John Toland wrote a whole book of stories about dirigibles called The Great Dirigibles: Their Triumphs and Disasters. It was one of my favorite books when I was younger and is filled with tales as fascinating as this one.
posted by TedW at 8:24 PM on August 6, 2002

Recently, I heard discussion about using airships (sorry, no link) to combat forest fires! Not as idiotic as all that, as they would be at a respectable height above the fire and just rain water, and rain and rain and rain. The idea being that they can lift a vast amount of water and suppress the fire, if not extinguish it. Dampen the fuel and lower the temperature.
They even had the idea of a catch basin on the top of the ship, so that other aircraft and helicopters could bulk drop water, to keep the rain flowing.
I really wish them the best if the idea "flies."
posted by kablam at 9:17 PM on August 6, 2002

GriffX, nah I just printed it out and took it to the gym.

posted by kablam

You win most appropriate name in this post award.

TedW thanks for the link, I'll check that out
posted by vito90 at 10:15 PM on August 6, 2002

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