Blimps & Airships
keel airships and dirigibles are all kinds of airships. Blimps are also
called non-rigid airships. They have big bags sewn like a cigar that is
filled with helium gas. Keel airships are also called semi-rigid
airships. They have one big long gondola shaped like a pole (keel), and
are a hybrid between blimps and dirigibles. Dirigibles are also called
rigid airships. They have a rigid framework made of longitudinal girders
and cross rings.
has twelve parts that allow it to fly:
envelope is a big bag shaped like a cigar that holds the helium gas. It
is shaped like a cigar for aerodynamic purposes that help the blimp fly.
nosecone battens are supports that
help prevent damage when the blimp is docked.
ballonets are bags filled with air
that are inside the envelope. Blimps have two of them. One is in the front
and one is in the back. They help weigh the blimp down when it needs to go
catenary curtains are pieces of
fabric sewn to the envelope. The catenary curtains help support the
suspension cables connect the
catenary curtains to the gondola.
control surfaces are made
up of the rudder and the elevators. The rudder steers the blimp and the
elevators control the altitude of the blimp.
The engines help the blimp move ahead,
they are turbo propeller airplane engines. They use gasoline fuel and
are cooled by air. They have several hundred horse power and are located
on the sides of the gondola.
scoops direct exhaust air from the propellers into the ballonets
filling them with air.
valves are valves on the
ballonets that drain the air.
valve is a valve that is
used to vent helium.
The gondola holds the passengers and
crew. It can hold two pilots and up to twelve crewmembers.
The next stage of airships was keel airships or semi-rigid
airships. The semi-rigid design added a lightweight keel along the
bottom of the airship. This solved the problem of the envelope buckling
under the strain of heavy loads or bad weather. The addition of the keel
also allowed airships and their gondola to be built bigger.
The Italian keel airships known as the Norge and the Italia went on an
expedition to the North Pole. They made it there successfully, but
something went wrong on the way back and they had to have a rescue team
come and save them.
Large airships were very
popular during the 1920s and 1930s. In fact, the largest airship ever
built was created around then, and it was called the Hindenberg. On May
1937 in Lakehurst, New Jersey at 7:00 p.m. the Hindenberg made its way from Europe
and was docking. All of a sudden the upper fin started on fire and
seconds the Hindenberg burst into flames. After
that people stopped using hydrogen gas and started using helium because
helium is less flammable.
Ever since the Montgolfier brothers built the first hot air balloon and all the way up to now, air transportation has evolved and airships are an important part of it. Airships can be used for sightseeing, aerial photography, TV broadcasting, and advertising. Due to a renewed interest in recent years, airships may be used for commercial transportation once again.
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“Balloons, Airships and Blimps”Aerospaceweb.org. December 19, 2004. <http://www.aerospace.org/questionhistory/90169.shtml>.
“Blimps.” The K-8 Aeronautics Internet Textbook. December 18, 2004. <http://wings.avkids.com/Book/Vehicles/advanced/blimps-01.html>.
Freudenrich, Craig C., Ph.D. “How Blimps Work.” How Stuff Works. December 18, 2004. <http://travel.howstuffworks.com/blimp.htm>.
“Information About Keel Airships.” Zeppelinfan. December 19, 2004. <http://www.zeppelinfan.de/html-seiten/englisch/luftschiffkiel.htm>.
“Titanic of the Sky-the Hindenburg” VIDICOM. December 21, 2004. <http://www.vidicom-tv.com/hindenberg.htm>.
Animated images of airships from "Animation Library" <http://www.animationlibrary.com/> Images free for non-profit and personal use. (January-March, 2005).
Photographs of airships have been released into the public domain under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page>.