Skill Level 3. Previous experience recommended.
This model builds into an accurate 1:700 scale replica of R.101 at the time of her last voyage. The completed model is over 13 inches long.
You will need a colour printer capable of handling card or cover stock to print the parts sheets. 67 lb cover stock (approx 8.5 thousandths of an inch or 0.2 mm thick) is recommended.
The great British passenger airships were built to meet the requirements of the Imperial Airship Scheme, a plan to provide travel throughout the British Empire by air. The R.101 was constructed by the Royal Airship Works while a rival ship, R.100, was built by a private company. When first flown in 1929, R.101 was the largest flying object ever built, with luxurious accomodations for her passengers. In spite of the huge volume of hydrogen lifting gas she was found to be too heavy, and in 1930 the ship was lengthened to 777 feet to add an extra gas cell.
R.101 at the mooring mast of her home base at Cardington, England.
Even then R.101's performance was unsatisfactory, but political pressure caused the ship to be sent on her maiden voyage to India on 4 October 1930. Early the next morning, struggling against wind and turbulence over northern France, the huge ship struck the ground and burst into flames. Of the 54 people aboard only six survived. The disaster caused the cancellation of the Airship Scheme, and the rival ship R.100, though a successful design, was scrapped the next year.
Last updated 2 July 2013
Copyright 2004-2013 by Ralph Currell