Airships

From Brass Goggles

Flight has been a feature of speculative fiction from the legends of Icarus to star ships of the future. Steampunk tends to focus on the Zeppelin style of airships but there are several other equally steamy varieties.

Since much of the information on airships is covered in great detail in the Wikipedia article: See Airship This page will limit itself to a general overview and information pertinent to writers, gamers and general steampunks.

Contents

[edit] Categories

[edit] Lighter Than Air Vessels

Balloons and dirigibles are cut from the same cloth as it were. They tend to be one or more large bags full of some sort of lighter than air substance or lifting gas.

[edit] Balloons

Balloons and blimps are large fabric or other envelopes filled with a lifting gas of some sort. While blimps are often tethered to the ground or a naval vessel, balloons drift free on the air currents though an experienced pilot can exert a considerable degree of control through the use of those air currents.

[edit] Examples in Fiction

The balloon used to get to Verne's The Mysterious Island

[edit] Dirigibles

A dirigible is a balloon or blimp with active direction control and enough propulsive power to fly against the wind (in most conditions).

[edit] Types

[edit] Non-rigid

Non-rigid dirigibles are composed of a flexible lifting gas containing bag or envelope under which is slung a gondola housing controls, passengers and motors.

Example: The Goodyear blimp

[edit] Semi-rigid

Semi-rigid dirigibles feature a flexible envelope attached to which is a rigid spar or beam to which is attached the gondola and driving motors.

Example: The Norge


[edit] Rigid

Rigid airships (usually) feature a lattice frame composed of several rings attached together with girders. The frame is covered with weather proof fabric to create an aerodynamically smooth skin. The lifting gas is usually contained in several cells attached to the internal frame and protected by the outer cover.

Example: The Hindenberg

Very rarely, a rigid airship can feature a metallic shell with internal bracing such as David Schwarz's rigid airship and more successfully the ZMC-2.


[edit] Examples in Fiction

The airships in Laputa: Castle in the Sky

[edit] Propeller-Lift Craft

While helicopters are a common sight in today's skies they were once the dream of (mad) inventors.


[edit] Examples in Fiction

Robur's Albatross in Verne's Robur the Conquerer

The ARIEL from George Griffith's The Angel of the Revolution



[edit] Conventional

Flight with wings, bird-like or fixed, has been a dream of human-kind from the dawn of time. While there were many successful gliders and man carrying kites had been in use for centuries in the far east, heavier than air flight was not achieved until a sufficiently light and powerful power plant was developed.

[edit] Examples in Fiction

Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines features a wide array of early conventional aircraft

[edit] Other

Other means of flight have been proposed both in fiction and in reality.

[edit] Examples in Fiction

Space 1889 liftwood based craft

Cavorite like substances from HG Wells The First Men in the Moon

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