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Airships

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LZ 129 Hindenburg

LZ 129 Hindenburg was a large German commercial passenger-carrying rigid airship, the lead ship of the Hindenburg class, the longest class of flying machine and the largest airship by envelope volume. It was designed and built by the Zeppelin Company on the shores of Lake Constance in Friedrichshafen and was operated by the German Zeppelin Airline Company. The airship flew from March, 1936 until it was destroyed by fire 14 months later on May 6, 1937 while attempting to land at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, New Jersey at the end of the first North American transatlantic journey of its second season of service with the loss of 36 lives. This was the last of the great airship disasters; it was preceded by the crashes of the British R38 in 1921, the US airship Roma in 1922, the French Dixmude in 1923, the British R101 in 1930, and the US Akron in 1933.

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Blimp

A blimp, or non-rigid airship, is an airship (dirigible) or barrage balloon without an internal structural framework or a keel. Unlike semi-rigid and rigid airships, blimps rely on the pressure of the lifting gas inside the envelope and the strength of the envelope itself to maintain their shape.

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Rigid airship

A rigid airship is a type of airship in which the envelope is supported by an internal framework rather than by being kept in shape by the pressure of the lifting gas within the envelope, as in blimps and semi-rigid airships. Rigid airships are often commonly called Zeppelins, though this technically refers only to airships built by the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin company.

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Zeppelin NT

The Zeppelin NT is a class of helium-filled airships being manufactured since the 1990s by the German company Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH (ZLT) in Friedrichshafen. The initial model is the NT07. The company considers itself the successor of the companies founded by Ferdinand von Zeppelin which constructed and operated the very successful Zeppelin airships in the first third of the 20th century. There are, however, a number of notable differences between the Zeppelin NT and the airships of those days, as well as between the Zeppelin NT and usual non-rigid airships known as blimps. The Zeppelin NT is classified as a semi-rigid airship.

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USS Shenandoah (ZR-1)

USS Shenandoah was the first of four United States Navy rigid airships. It was constructed during 1922–23 at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, and first flew in September 1923. It developed the U.S. Navy's experience with rigid airships, and made the first crossing of North America by airship. On the 57th flight, Shenandoah was destroyed in a squall line over Ohio in September 1925.

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Vacuum airship

A vacuum airship, also known as a vacuum balloon, is a hypothetical airship that is evacuated rather than filled with a lighter-than-air gas such as hydrogen or helium. First proposed by Italian Jesuit priest Francesco Lana de Terzi in 1670, the vacuum balloon would be the ultimate expression of displacement lift power.

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Hybrid airship

A hybrid airship is a powered aircraft that obtains some of its lift as a lighter-than-air (LTA) airship and some from aerodynamic lift as a heavier-than-air aerodyne.

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Semi-rigid airship

A semi-rigid airship is an airship which has a stiff keel or truss supporting the main envelope along its length. The keel may be partially flexible or articulated and may be located inside or outside the main envelope. The outer shape of the airship is maintained by gas pressure, as with the non-rigid "blimp". Semi-rigid dirigibles were built in significant quantity from the late 19th century but in the late 1930s they fell out of favour along with rigid airships. No more were constructed until the design was revived by the Zeppelin NT in 1997.

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Thermal airship

A thermal airship is an airship that generates buoyancy by heating air in a large chamber or envelope. The lower density of interior hot air compared to cool ambient air causes an upward force on the envelope. This is very similar to a hot air balloon, with the notable exception that an airship has a powered means of propulsion, whilst a hot air balloon relies on winds for navigation. An airship that uses steam would also qualify as a thermal airship.

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Roma (airship)

Roma was an Italian semi-rigid airship, originally designated the T-34. It was purchased by the United States from the Italian government for $250,000 in 1921. It served in the US Army until February 21, 1922, when it crashed in Norfolk, Virginia, killing 34 people. It was the last hydrogen filled airship flown by the US military; all subsequent ships were inflated with helium.

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23-class airship

The 23 class were rigid airships produced in the United Kingdom during the First World War. They were designed by Vickers, who also built the first and last of the four ships, with the other two being built by William Beardmore and Company and Armstrong-Whitworth. While the 23 class airships were never used in combat, the four ships provided many hours of valuable training and experimental data for British airship crews and designers. Although a total of 17 of these ships were contemplated at one time, only four were ever built. The 23 class was found to be significantly overweight, leading to its cancellation in favour of the more-refined R23X class.

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Giffard dirigible

The Giffard dirigible or Giffard airship was an airship built in France in 1852 by Henri Giffard, the first powered and steerable airship to fly. The craft featured an elongated hydrogen-filled envelope that tapered to a point at each end. From this was suspended a long beam with a triangular, sail-like rudder at its aft end, and beneath the beam a platform for the pilot and steam engine. Due to the highly flammable nature of the lift gas, special precautions were taken to minimise the potential for the envelope to be ignited by the engine beneath it. The engine's exhaust was diverted downwards to a long pipe projecting below the platform, and the area surrounding the boiler's stoke hole was surrounded by wire gauze. On 24 September 1852, Giffard flew the airship from the hippodrome at Place de l'Etoile to Élancourt, covering the 27 km (17 mi) in around 3 hours, demonstrating maneuvering along the way. The engine, however, was not sufficiently powerful to allow Giffard to fly against the wind to make a return journey.

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La France (airship)

The La France was a French Army non-rigid airship launched by Charles Renard and Arthur Constantin Krebs on August 9, 1884. Collaborating with Charles Renard, Arthur Constantin Krebs piloted the first fully controlled free-flight with the La France. The 170-foot (52 m) long, 66,000 cubic feet (1,900 m3) airship, electric-powered with a 435 kg zinc-chlorine flow battery completed a flight that covered 8 km (5.0 mi) in 23 minutes. It was the first full round trip flight with a landing on the starting point. On its seven flights in 1884 and 1885 the La France dirigible returned five times to its starting point.

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Patrie (airship)

The Lebaudy Patrie was a semi-rigid airship built for the French army in Moisson, France, by sugar producers Lebaudy Frères. Designed by Henri Julliot, Lebaudy's chief engineer, the Patrie was completed in November 1906 and handed over to the military the following month. The Patrie bears the distinction of being the first airship ordered for military service by the French army.

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Astra-Torres airship

The Astra-Torres airships were non-rigid airships built by Société Astra to a design by Spaniard Leonardo Torres Quevedo in France between about 1908 and 1922. They had a highly-characteristic tri-lobed cross-section rather than the more usual circular cross-section. This was the result of moving most of the blimp's bracing wires inside the envelope in an attempt to minimise drag. Early Astra-Torres airships could be trimmed by moving the entire gondola fore-and-aft.