Future Dirigible Without Hangar (Jul, 1931)

Future Dirigible Without Hangar
A GIGANTIC dirigible which would have an all metal body made of corrugated sheet steel, and which would be so durable as to eliminate the need of the customary hangar, is the novel craft recently designed by an eminent Russian inventor, Konstantin Ziolkowski. This craft will expand or contract according to the interior gas pressure.

  1. Rick Auricchio says: April 27, 200912:55 am

    Perhaps a shell of thick steel-reinforced concrete would be even better. Oh, it has to FLY?

  2. fred says: April 27, 20093:42 am

    The Tindenburg?

  3. Al says: April 27, 20096:51 am

    The thing is – it just doesn’t make sense… Parasitic weight is the death of anything that flies. Why lug along the hangar when you only need it when you’re on the ground?

  4. Sean says: April 27, 20097:25 am

    It’s happened a few times.


    This is the only successful attempt at a metal-hulled airship, but there were plenty of plans for scaling the design up. And with airships, size is everything as weight of envelope only increases at the square while volume of lifting gas increases at the cube.

  5. Sean says: April 27, 20097:34 am

    Wow. That ship is about the worst shape that could possibly be used for an airship. Can you imagine how much that thing would get buffeted by every cross-wind, or how much it would lean on the ground? Not to mention, if you’re going to have an overly heavy envelope material, you’d need your ship to have the shape that uses the least skin for the maximum volume; i.e. a cigar trending to sphere.

    There is no way that that volume of gas could lift a two level gondola the entire length of the ship.

    And to add insult to injury, it’s labeled “LZ II”. “LZ” was the designation used on Zeppelin airships (The Graph Zeppelin was the LZ 127, for example.). You know, ones that actually worked?

  6. Myles says: April 27, 200910:31 am

    Maybe they will only fly it if its not windy.

  7. Chris Radcliff says: April 27, 200912:23 pm

    Hm. “Eminent Russian inventor” is a bit of an understatement. Tsiolkovsky is considered one of the fathers of space travel: http://en.wikipedia.org…

    That said, I’d hate to see the thing take a rough landing. The passenger area is like one giant crumple zone.

  8. Warren says: April 27, 20093:16 pm

    What’s more (adding to the other comments here), increasing the pressure of the gas in the airship wouldn’t increase its lifting ability. The gas, in order to lift, has to be less dense than the air around it.

    Apparently Lysenkoism infected Soviet aeronautics for a few years, until even Josef Stalin had to concede that, while not egalitarian, the laws of physics are absolutely inviolable.

  9. Sean says: April 27, 20094:41 pm

    I don’t think that they meant to increase pressure to increase lift. I believe that the expansion and contraction is meant to maintain the gas as outside pressure changes with altitude and temperature. This would be a major problem on an airship with a rigid skin.

    Classic rigid ships (the real Zeppelins) held their gas at 0 relative pressure in internal, gold-beater skin or rubber gas cells that could expand and contract without effecting the outer hull’s aerodynamics. Nonrigids (blimps) have an air-filled balloon inside the main envelope which is kept inflated with part of the thrust from the engines. As outside pressure rises, the amount of air directed into this sack is increased and vice versa to maintain the proper pressure which will keep the envelope taut, but not rupture it.

    Theoretically, you could use this system rather than have the metal hull expand and contract (And it would be a much better solution from any angle!), but I don’t know if either they hadn’t invented it yet in the 30’s or if this is just another of MM’s attempts to create Rube Goldberg solutions to problems that have already been solved.

    Sorry. Airships were the one thing I ever really nerded out over.

  10. Steve says: April 27, 20094:52 pm

    Possibly the ugliest excuse for a flying machine I’ve ever seen. Thank heavens it never made it past the drawing stage.

  11. MrG says: April 27, 20095:35 pm

    Constant-pressure balloons have been developed and flown. The major advantage is that they don’t have to vent gas to maintain height and so can have very long durations — a month or more.
    MrG http://www.vectorsite.n…

  12. rick says: April 27, 20096:37 pm

    You have to admit, though, that it would have made the mother of all flying billboards!


  13. Torgo says: April 27, 20098:17 pm

    Yes, the LZII is quite curious.

  14. Charlene says: April 28, 20091:27 am

    I swear to God, a friend of mine has a radio that looks just like this. The speaker, with fins just like those (but I think more of them), is on the left, and the controls are on the top.

    For a moment I thought this was the Ben-Hur projection of the radio.

  15. Alfred says: May 1, 200911:05 am

    Here is the book he wrote this up in from 1930:


  16. Jimmy Page says: May 5, 200912:45 am

    Led Zeppelin II

    “Moby Dick”

    “What Is and What Should Never Be”

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