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  • Airships - Designed for Greatness

    < Back Currently out of print Airships - Designed for Greatness Every so often a new book comes along that, by virtue of the quality of the writing, depth of research or detail of its illustrations, sets the new ‘gold standard’ for that field. So it is with AIRSHIPS: Designed for Greatness - The Illustrated History by Max Pinucci and a team of international experts. If you already have a copy then you will know what I mean, but if you don’t, and if you are at all interested in the history and development of airships, then this is a book that you will want to own. Printed hard covers, and 114 beautifully illustrated pages on ‘art quality’ paper give the book a pleasing weight of over 2kg, but the layout of those pages is what sets the book apart. Each individual page is 45 x 28cm but when you open the book you will find that they been combined into the most amazing double page spreads which, at almost 1 metre wide, lend themselves perfectly to their subject material. And these ‘infographic plates’, as Prof. Pinucci calls them, are the heart of this book because they tell the story of airships from 1900 - 2010 through meticulously illustrated timelines, range charts, size comparisons, routes and, at the core of the book, a series of elegant double page spreads describing 25 of the most famous airships. Each of these 25 airships, from the French ‘Lebaudy Le Jaune’ of 1902 to the German Zeppelin NT of 2003, is illustrated with a finely detailed pen and ink drawing on one page and a brief history and specification panel on the facing page. Along the way, there are cutaway diagrams, close-up illustrations of particular points of interest, and maps to help tell the story. And the list of airships given this treatment is a roll-call through history including the R33, the Norge, the Shenandoah, The Graf Zeppelin, the R100 and R101, the Akron and Macon and the Hindenburg. Ask yourself if your airship bookshelf needs a copy of this book. I think you’ll find it does, especially as Max has just announced a revised version which includes 16 new pages on the history of the polar flights.

  • Principles of Aerostatics

    < Back Available from Amazon, price £21.50 Principles of Aerostatics Principles of Aerostatics presents the complete theory of static lift for airships, aerostats and balloons. Concepts are laid out, and building on the derivation of temperature, pressure, density and humidity in the atmosphere and the gas laws, formulas for static lift are derived. The variation of lift with atmospheric and airship parameters, climb and descent, and flight above pressure height are then explored. Both SI and United States Customary Units are employed throughout, and worked examples and calculator programs are provided. The mathematical processes can followed by a reader with an understanding of high school algebra. "This is an excellent and unique work bringing the strands of basic theory together and rendering them into a workable series of mathematical expressions which can be used by any individual with a hand held scientific calculator. It is a most significant contribution to the LTA industry."

  • N4 Down

    < Back Available from amazon, price £11.17 N4 Down Triumphantly returning from the North Pole on May 24, 1928, the world-famous exploring airship Italia—code-named N-4—was struck by a terrible storm and crashed somewhere over the Arctic ice, triggering the largest polar rescue mission in history. Helping lead the search was Roald Amundsen, the poles’ greatest explorer, who himself soon went missing in the frozen wastes. Amundsen’s body has never been found, the last victim of one of the Arctic’s most enduring mysteries. Braiding together the gripping accounts of the survivors and their heroic rescuers, N-4 Down tells the unforgettable true story of what happened when the glamour and restless daring of the zeppelin age collided with the harsh reality of earth’s extremes.

  • Helium

    < Back Available from Amazon, price £19.90 Helium This is an exceedingly comprehensive study of the element Helium and a true work of scholarship. John Taylor traces the beginnings of his fascination with Helium to his association with airships and use of the element as a safe lifting gas. Over a period of some six years the author absorbed a very considerable knowledge of all aspects of the element Helium and has rationalised that into an extraordinary detailed six part book. Where visual aids are applied, they are invariably of a high quality as are illustrations depicting various reactions in diagrammatic form. The book is highly educational and it is no exaggeration in describing it as the definitive work on the Helium element.

  • When Giants Ruled the Sky

    < Back Available from amazon, price £20.61 When Giants Ruled the Sky Exclusive excerpt for AIRSHIP from, When Giants Ruled the Sky: The Brief Reign and Tragic Demise of the American Rigid Airship by John J. Geoghegan. Copyright John J. Geoghegan Rear Admiral William A. Moffett, Chief of the U.S. Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics, departed Washington, D.C. accompanied by his naval aide early Monday afternoon, April 3rd, 1933. Normally, Moffett preferred flying to Lakehurst, New Jersey where his newest rigid airship, the USS Akron (ZRS-4) was based. After all, he was head of naval aviation. But the weather was sketchy, so he made the long drive in his staff car instead not wanting to risk being grounded. When the Admiral arrived at Lakehurst Naval Air Station nearly six hours later the huge slab-like doors of Hangar No. 1 were already open. Inside, the Akron , her airframe poking through her canvas-covered hull like the ribs of a steer, hovered off the concrete floor. That something larger than a battleship could float in the air seemed counterintuitive--as if the airship were thumbing her nose at gravity. And yet there she was illuminated by overhead lights with a shadow beneath her proving it was no magic trick. Moffett’s car pulled into the Akron’s hangar followed by a shrill whistle alerting the crew to fall in place. While the men came to attention, their breath visible in the chilly night air, the Akron’s captain, Commander Frank C. McCord, greeted Moffett with a smart salute. NAS-Lakehurst was the heart of Moffett’s rigid airship program. Still, Moffett wasn’t satisfied with having a dirigible base on the east coast of the United States. He was building a second one in California as well. In the meantime, the culmination of everything America knew about big rigids operated just a few miles south of New York City. There was nothing small about Moffett’s rigid airship program. From the size of its budget to the thousands of miles the Akron could fly without having to land, no string of superlatives quite did it justice. There’s no denying the Akron was a window into the future. A miracle of modern engineering, she was state-of-the-art for the U.S. Navy when commissioned in 1931. Seven hundred and eighty-five feet long and 140 feet tall, she dwarfed everything around her including her crew which looked Lilliputian by comparison. Even King Kong, the giant ape in a new movie released the previous month was a chimp by comparison. Size didn’t mean she was slow, however. The Akron was the fastest dirigible the Navy had ever flown. Her eight Maybach engines generated a top speed of more than 80 miles per hour. That wasn’t as fast as airplanes of the day, but the Akron didn’t need to be. Her job wasn’t to get some place in a hurry, but to scout thousands of square miles for days at 1 a time. This required range not speed. Able to travel more than 10,000 miles without refueling, the Akron was a marathoner not a sprinter. Incredibly, she was also a self-contained city in the sky with everything she needed to keep her 80 man crew aloft for days on end. This included three separate mess halls plus a galley; three separate sleeping quarters for her officers, Chief Petty Officers, and enlisted men; “heads” with toilets and sinks (if not showers); navigation and radio rooms; a weather center; sick bay, smoking room, and captain’s cabin all residing inside her enormous hull connected by a labyrinth of catwalks, stairs and ladders. Additionally, the Akron not only had running water, but her own power plant to generate electricity. Eighteen telephones spread throughout the ship assisted communication while eight machine gun emplacements helped repel attack. There was even a sub cloud observation car that could be lowered on a cable to spy on the enemy below. If that wasn’t impressive, the Akron was also a flying aircraft carrier. She not only carried two airplanes inside her belly, which could be deployed and retrieved in mid-flight, but a third which hung from a trapeze outside the airship. The world had seen nothing like it. Unfortunately, the Akron also suffered from the same high hopes so many first born are saddled with. Although she’d only been flying 18 months, there was the feeling she wasn’t living up to expectations. Having experienced a series of mishaps as well as judged vulnerable to being shot down, the Akron had a long ways to go before proving herself an effective ocean-going scout. One flight wasn’t going to change that, but Rear Admiral Moffett wanted to be on board that night if for no other reason than to demonstrate she could fly even in inclement weather. As if being a wunderkind weren’t enough, the future of America’s airship industry depended on how the Akron performed. If she did well then the financial community would feel comfortable investing in passenger-carrying airships, but if the Akron failed to live up to expectations then the financial markets would steer clear of what they deemed a risky investment. In other words, Moffett to show the Akron could fly in poor weather if he wanted the financial community to invest in America’s nascent airship manufacturing industry. That’s why he didn’t want a fewstorm clouds preventing the Akron from taking off that night. Unfortunately, that decision would cost Moffett his life.

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