R80 (airship)

R80 was the first British rigid airship with a streamlined shape. It was designed in 1916 by B. Wallis. Construction began in November 1917 and was delayed several times. In April 1920, the covering was applied. The first test run took place on 19 July 1920.

During the first test drive the ship was damaged. Example, there was some problems with the ballast, so that the ship rose too fast. The damage was repaired after returning to the airship hangar. In January 1921, the ship was put into service and transferred to Howden / Yorkshire on 24 February 1921. There also used the U.S. Navy R80 to graduate training flights for his airship. Here, between March 26 and June 1, 1921 four runs were completed with a total time of 8 hours and 45 minutes.

Among other things, the low range made ​​R80 as reconnaissance, however, only limited usefulness. So it was mainly used as a training ship.

After the end of the accelerator operation, parts of the ship for destructive component and material tests were used. The R80 was founded in 1925 after 4 years of operation disarmed with only 73 flight hours.

Despite the lack of added value of R80 resulted in the benefits of a streamlined shape to a competition for the construction of a transport airship that was able to cross or to enable a direct passage into the British colony of India to the Atlantic Ocean. It went as a commercial contribution forth the built mainly of Vickers airship R100 and R101 as a contribution of the British government.

Commercial plans

Already during the construction in 1919, there were considerations, the ship as a transport airship LZ 120 and LZ similar use 121. For detailed modifications of the ship, for example, special passenger accommodation and sleeping facilities have been designed, but not implemented.


The pods were circular in cross section and also had a streamlined shape. In the forward nacelle, behind the control car had two engines on one propeller, while the side gondolas ever harbored a motor with propeller.

  • Lifting gas volume 33 986 cubic meters (1,200,000 cft )
  • Dimensions: Length: 163 m (535 ft), diameter: 21.3 m (70 ft)
  • Maximum speed: depending on the source: 105 to 112.6 km / h (70 mph)
  • Drive: four Wolseley Maybach engines with 170 kW ( 230 hp )
  • Payload: 18 t