Fantastic images from the golden age of Airships – graceful, modern and doomed

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These days we associate Airships with football matches as the smooth flight of the ship enables camera crews to take long and steady overhead shots of stadiums.

But there was a time in the 1930s when they were state of the art travel ships. If you wanted to get from Europe to the Americas you could either get a boat or go there twice as fast cruising in on a liner-esque Zeppelin.

Sadly, the Airship’s stint as the poster boys of inter continental travel didn’t last very long. The Hindenburg disaster put the public off travelling in the skies and then WW2 came and any remaining ships were put to good use chasing U-Boats.

For me though there is something wonderfully romantic and beautiful about the airships. They were the Art Deco fleet of the skies -  graceful, modern and, like many things from that era – doomed.

Here then are  a series of stunning images from the Airship’s golden age, along with a story or two about how they came to be.

Incidentally if you want to travel by Airship, you still can here.

R101 - the British Zeppelin

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It wasn't just the Americans and the Germans - we made airships too. The most famous of the British fleet was the R101, one of a pair of British rigid airships completed in 1929 as part of a British government programme to develop civil airships capable of service on long-distance routes within the British Empire. When built it was the world's largest flying craft[3] at 731 ft (223 m) in length, and it was not surpassed until the Hindenburg flew five years later. Sadly the R101 never really worked properly. On 5 October 1930 in France, during its maiden overseas voyage it crashed killing 48 including Secretary of State for Air Lord Thomson, and the airship's designers. It had a sister ship - the R100 - which was scrapped following the R101 disaster.

 

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Ashley





AshleyFantastic images from the golden age of Airships – graceful, modern and doomed