Airship Technical Papers from the NACA

Friday, July 17, 2015

An Airship Technical Gold Mine

Previously I reviewed one of the only books ever published on real airship design.
The author Charles P. Burgess worked for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the NACA.

During the heyday of the great rigid airships, in the first third of the 20th century, the NACA commissioned and collected a series of technical studies, papers and technological reviews of airship design. These papers show just how seriously rigid airships were taken as the future of heavy lift and long distance aircraft.

Recently NASA (the direct descendant of the NACA) has made scans of these reports and analyses available through the Internet Archive.

If you are curious check out this simple search:

Airship Technical Gold Mine 

Here you will find yellowed type written reports, with hand drawn graphs, diagrams, plans, and old photographs, documenting in detailed analyses the state of the art in Airship design in 20's and 30's.

The files are available in many formats including plain text, colour PDFs, html, epub and other ebook formats.

The titles alone make this old Flight Engineer drool!

Here are some examples to "wet yer whistle":

THE PRESENT STATUS OF AIRSHIP CONSTRUCTION, ESPECIALLY OF AIRSHIP FRAMING CONSTRUCTION
By Hans Ebner
1938





FULL-SCALE TURNING CHARACTERISTICS OF THE U.S.S. LOS ANGELES
By F. L. THOMPSON

CONTRIBUTION TO THE TECHNIQUE OF LANDING LARGE AIRSHIPS
By 0. Krell
PART I
Part II is here
From Zei'tschrift f'.r FLigteohnik und. Motorluftschiffahrt
September 28, 1928

RECENT RESEARCHES IN AIRSHIP CONSTRUCTION I
Forces of Flow on a Moving Airship and the Effect of he Control Surfaces
By H. Naatz
1928

Many of these reports are translations of German reports. The Germans were the acknowledged world leaders in Airship design at the time. The first report listed includes a German paper written in 1933 while the Hindenburg was under construction and before the loss of the Akron, which is noted in a footnote. The full report was not translated and acquired by the NACA till 1938.

Since these reports were typewritten they often contain typos, to me these little errors bring these fairly dry technical reports alive. In a way they show them as being human made. Prepared to record important information not just display elegant formatting.

For anyone interested in the technical details of real airship designs these reports are truly a gold mine of information.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

Here are some sample pages of the kinds of details included in these reports:

 
 

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