CHAPTER 5PEACETIME AVIATION Peacetime Distance Flying Airships Barnstorming and Competing Airlines and Airmail
Section APeacetime Distance Flying Long distance flights demonstrated the capabilities of aircraft developed during the war as well as the skill and experience of pilots, navigators, and mechanics. Compared to prewar equipment, military aircraft at the end of the war were larger and stronger, engine more powerful and reliable, and instruments and radios more developed and more frequently installed in aircraft. Military aviation influenced the immediate postwar activities in civil as well as military aviation.
Navy Flight Across the Atlantic • Late in WWI • The US Navy and the Curtiss Aeroplane Company designed a new military flying boast to bring the war to German submarines at sea. • NC flying boats, for Navy/Curtiss, “Nancy” • They were designed to fly across the Atlantic because wartime shipping space was scarce and the need for aircraft great. • Curtis built 4 NCs in Garden City, Long Island, New York • None of the NCs made it war.
Navy Flight Across the Atlantic • NC-1 (Nancy 1) • Had three Liberty engines installed tractor mode • Set the world’s record for number of passengers carried: 51 people on 25 November 1918. Was under-powered, so the Navy installed four engines on the other three NCs.
Navy Flight Across the Atlantic With the war over, the Navy decided to fly the NCs across the Atlantic anyway. • To demonstrate their capabilities • To win honor for the US by being the first to fly across the “pond” May 8 and May 31, 1919 • NC-1, NC-3, and NC-4 set off • NC-4 commanded and navigated by A.C. Read and a crew of 5 flew the first flight across the Atlantic. • Following a line of over 60 naval ships and hopping from stops to stops
Navy Flight Across the Atlantic Meanwhile, while the NCs were crossing… • The C-5, a non-rigid, dirigible launched from Rockaway, NY for its own transatlantic. • The C-5 reach Newfoundland just ahead of NC- 4, but high winds blew the C-5 from its mooring and blew it too sea and lost.
Navy Flight Across the Atlantic Big problems for NC-1 and NC-3 • Both NC-1 and NC-3 ditched at sea. • NC-1’s crew rescued, but the flying boat sank • NC-3 taxied 200 miles to Azores. Only NC-4 completed the trip eventually ending up in Plymouth, England
Daily Mail…Again?!?! The London Daily Mail again offered a prize for the first flight across the Atlantic Ocean, now to be completed with 72 consecutive hours. British war veterans John Alcock and Arthur Brown flew a modified Vickers Vimy (WWI bomber) to victory on 14-15 June 1919.
Alcock-Brown Crossing The Alcock team left Newfoundland on 14 June 1919. Alcock was pilot Brown was Navigator • Used celestial navigation • And drift sights to determine position
Airship Roundtrip After armistice, the British offered to loan its unneeded airships to the British Air Ministry to explore the commercial potential of airships. The British military determined their designs were too weak, and decided to design airships based on German technology.
Airship Roundtrip • The British built the R.34 • Lifted off from East Fortune on 2 July 1919 • Commanded by Edward M. Maitland and a crew of 30. • Became the first lighter-than-air craft to cross the Atlantic and the first aircraft to do it east to west, against the prevailing winds. • After its success, the R.34 became obsolete, due to airship being constructed by German design.
Australian Flight • Four Australians, led by brother Ross and Keith Smith, flew a Vickers Vimy from England to Australia over a 28-day period in November-December 1919. • Flew over 11,000 miles • Won a prize for the feat • United distant parts of the British Empire by air.
Other Long Distance Flights • H.N. Wrigley and A.W. Murphy flew the first transcontinental flight across Australia late 1919 • Pierre Van Rynekeld and C.J. Quintin Brand flew the first flight from England to South Africa in early 1920. • Safe to say that Long-Distance flying began in 1919.
Research and Development • Robert H. Goddard • Published books on liquid-fueled rockets • Started work in 1919, but finally successfully launched a rocket in 1926.
Section BAirships Postwar aviation included an enthusiasm for airships and activities such as “prospecting” or surveying air routes for possible airship lines. The airship proved itself during the war as a naval coastal patrol ship and in 1919 ad a long-distance aircraft. Prohibited from military aviation, Germany turns its postwar interest to commercial air travel by airship
Zeppelins As soon as the war ended, the Zeppelin Co. built two new rigids for passenger service • LZ 120, Bodensee (Lake Constance) • LZ 121, Nordstern (North Star) Both were confiscated as restitution for German equipment destroyed after the war. • LZ 120 went to Italy • LZ 121 went to France; renamed Mediterranee France also got the L 72; renamed Dixmude
Zeppelins In 1923 France launched both the Mediterranee and Dixmude for flights between its African colonies. These were “prospecting” flights. Other zeppelins were dismantled and shipped to other countries. Britain benefited by finally getting their hand on the German technology
R.38 • The Short Brothers began construction of the rigid R.38 at Cardington • But the British gov’t. completed the work after nationalizing the Cardington plant into the Royal Airship Works. • The test flight became the worst aerial disaster to date, when on 24 August 1921, the R.38 crashed during a high-speed turn and killed 44 men, with only 5 survivors.
Roma The US Navy bought the Italian-made semi-rigid Roma and crashed it on 21 February 1922, with a loss of 34 men. The American response was to abandon flammable hydrogen to make the switch to helium.
Shenandoah, ZR-1 • The first helium airship, also the first airship made in the U.S. • Design based on captured German technology. • Weighed 40 tons, could lift 62 tons • Maiden flight 4 September 1923 • The Navy planned on sending it to the North Pole…yet another first to be conquered.
Shenandoah, ZR-1 • The Navy cancelled the polar flight and planned instead a transcontinental flight, it departed on 7 October 1924. It never made it….. September 1925, the Shenandoah was caught in a squall line, and crashed BUT, IT DID NOT CATCH FIRE!
Los Angeles, LZ-126 • The German were not allowed the production of any military aircraft • But the US requested an exception so that one last airship be built by Zeppelin before the plant was destroyed. • Zeppelin’s former assistant, Hugo Eckener personally delivered the airship to the US Navy. Eckener saved the Zeppelin Co. by convincing the Allies that airships were not militarily viable in the age of fighter planes. He revived the German airship industry as a wholly civil enterprise.
Germany Soon Allied restrictions on German airship production were lifted • The Zeppelin Co. began making the LZ 127, a.k.a. the Graf Zeppelin. • The LZ 127 was a commercial airliner specially designed for regular transatlantic service.
End of Section B Time for a break!!!