Norge (airship)

The Norge, originally N1, was a semi-rigid airship, which was built in 1923/24, under the airship pioneer Umberto Nobile in the Italian state shipyard stabilimento di Costruzioni Aeronautiche (SCA ). It became known through his journey towards exploring the northern polar region between Europe and America in 1926 - reached the North Pole it here on 12 May 1926.

In 1924/25

The maiden voyage took place in March 1924. After that followed many other rides. Including a trip with the Zeppelin LZ 120, the name was in Italy Esperia, the end of May 1925. Barcelona and the French airport Cuers - Pierrefeu where a celebration in honor of the dead of the catastrophe of Dixmude (former LZ 114) was held

North Pole Expedition

The polar explorer Roald Amundsen in 1925, after the failure of his flying boat expedition, with the desire to Nobile approached, with an airship to fly over the North Pole to Alaska to explore the hitherto unknown territory. Since Amundsen did not want to wait for the completion of a being constructed another airship to Nobile decided for the conversion of N1. The Norwegian Aero Club, next to the Italian State and the American Lincoln Ellsworth main financier of the expedition, she bought from the Italian government.

In February 1926 the first flight test of the vessel was performed. However, the official handover took place at Ciampino on 29 March 1926. The ship was the Norwegian word for Norway renamed Norge.

The beginning of the expedition was originally planned for April 3, but a storm left many disappointed guests who wanted to witness the departure, including Mussolini, back. Ultimately, we started a week late. First interim destination of the transfer route was the airship hangar in Pulham, UK, where a two-day stop was inserted; then it went on Oslo first to an airfield near Leningrad, where the Norge on 15 April arrived at the gas China Airport to around 1,200 km. The ship should wait there until the base was on Spitsbergen ready and the weather favorable to the stage. Amundsen and Ellsworth were already gone ahead to prepare for the arrival of the airship site on Spitsbergen. After many delays it was on to Vadsø and from there to Ny -Ålesund on Spitsbergen, where the Norge arrived on May 7.

When the Norge started on May 11 for the actual ride over the North Pole to Alaska, had the 16- member crew, including Nobile, Amundsen and Ellsworth, assume that it was the Americans Richard Byrd two days earlier already succeeded in the to fly over the North Pole. Its claim to have with his co-pilot Floyd Bennett reached and encircled the North Pole before he landed back on Spitsbergen, but could never be proved; therefore applies May 12, 1926, at the Norge had after 16 hours and 40 minutes reached the North Pole trip, the first unequivocally secure date. The Norge continued her journey continued successfully and landed, almost 70 hours after the start of Spitsbergen, despite the bad weather, which made ​​it difficult to navigate among others, without ground crew problems in plate near Nome / Alaska. Immediately after putting the envelope were opened to allow the gas to escape. Later the ship was dismantled there.

After his return Nobile was nominated for the exceptional performance in Italy to the general.

Expedition participants


  • Length: 106 m
  • Diameter 19.5 m
  • Volume: about 18500-19000 cubic meters
  • Dead weight: 12,490 kg
  • Payload: 8600 kg
  • Carrier gas: hydrogen
  • Cover material: four-ply cotton with rubber coating on the inside and aluminum paint on the outside
  • Drive: 3 Maybach engines each with 180 kW ( 245 hp )
  • Maximum speed: 85 km / h

The ship made a total a distance of some 12,500 km over 171 hours in the air, of which 5,300 over the Polar Sea.