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Author Topic: Pulp setting: you’re on a journey in a luxurious Zeppelin, what happens?  (Read 3581 times)

Lurkndog

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Pulp setting: you’re on a journey in a luxurious Zeppelin, what happens?
« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2020, 11:20:56 AM »
Quote from: Omega;1125012
These things looked leisurely and majestic. But they were floating death traps waiting to happen and alot of people did indeed die in the development of these things. By the time of the Hindenburg the science of making them had gotten pretty good really and if it had not been for various factors it might have continued to fly just fine.


Even without the issues of using hydrogen for lift, airships are very vulnerable to air conditions. You basically can't fly them in high winds or turbulence. If you get caught in a downdraft, it will smash the airship into the ground. That obviously limits when and where you can use them, but it also limits their practical range, because they need to be able to get back to a hangar before things start to get rough. Their hangars are also gigantic and expensive.

If we're talking way out there, though, there was a proposal by JP Aerospace to use an unmanned airship as a space launch system. It would basically float up to max altitude, and then use rocket propulsion to achieve orbital velocity.

Trond

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Pulp setting: you’re on a journey in a luxurious Zeppelin, what happens?
« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2020, 12:34:27 PM »
Quote from: Lurkndog;1125389
Even without the issues of using hydrogen for lift, airships are very vulnerable to air conditions. You basically can't fly them in high winds or turbulence. If you get caught in a downdraft, it will smash the airship into the ground. That obviously limits when and where you can use them, but it also limits their practical range, because they need to be able to get back to a hangar before things start to get rough. Their hangars are also gigantic and expensive.

If we're talking way out there, though, there was a proposal by JP Aerospace to use an unmanned airship as a space launch system. It would basically float up to max altitude, and then use rocket propulsion to achieve orbital velocity.

This actually isn't entirely correct, not when handled by experienced pilots. The Germans built up a lot of competence in airship flying, and Eckener would go from dreading storms, to using them to gain speed. The Graf Zeppelin not only went around the world, but it went through a massive hailstorm at one point, and the day after it was reported that an airplane that had been caught in the same storm had crashed with everyone on board lost.

Omega

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Pulp setting: you’re on a journey in a luxurious Zeppelin, what happens?
« Reply #32 on: April 06, 2020, 03:57:33 AM »
Yep. They were getting increasingly safer. But when they go down it tended to be spectacular. But not allways fatal for all depending on how it went down.

Were it not for the Hindenburg disaster they would have probably over the next decade or so gotten safer as more solutions were discovered.

I think eventually though they would have been eclipsed by the advancements in aeroplanes and ships anyhow. Just not as fast or as near instantly.

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Pulp setting: you’re on a journey in a luxurious Zeppelin, what happens?
« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2020, 04:14:29 AM »
I still bemoan the loss of Zeppelins. Of course they're inefficient compared to planes, but it would have been marvelous.
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Omega

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Pulp setting: you’re on a journey in a luxurious Zeppelin, what happens?
« Reply #34 on: April 12, 2020, 06:18:25 AM »
Quote from: RPGPundit;1126572
I still bemoan the loss of Zeppelins. Of course they're inefficient compared to planes, but it would have been marvelous.

Depends. An airship can get alot done with less fuel use. Its the potential weather hassles that seem to keep stalling projects. That and the logistics of building and maintaining one large enough to be commercially viable.

Back in the 80s and 90s there were some tries. If I recall right a logging company used airships to haul product. Thats about the only one out of a dozen or more proposals that ever got off the drawing board. And even that was a blimp I believe rather than a zepplin.

Omega

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Just finished watching the 1975 movie The Hindenburg, with George C Scott and many other familiar faces gaceing a really well done movie. The sets look great and from all accounts were very accurate, and the cast all plays off well.

GameDaddy

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Quote from: Omega;1128769
Just finished watching the 1975 movie The Hindenburg, with George C Scott and many other familiar faces gaceing a really well done movie. The sets look great and from all accounts were very accurate, and the cast all plays off well.

I did a lot of research for a book I was working on for airships. The Hindenburg and the Graf Zepplin, and the other large German Zeppelins were a technological marvel. In the 1920's and 1930's aircraft had a limited range and needed airfields, with service and support facilities. The Zeppelins did not, so they could easily setup routes anywhere they liked. The maintenance crew lived onboard the airship, and the airship carried a complete set of spare parts and had machine shops on board so they could fabricate what they needed for service or repairs. They used helium which was plentiful back, and everyone was experimenting with them.

The Zeppelins travelled four or five times faster than the fastest steamships of the time, and didn't need airports for fuel, service, or landings. The Zeppelin routes from Berlin to Rio De Janeiro in 1936 ran from Europe, with stops in France, to Morocco, to the Canary Islands, the across the Atlantic to Recife in Brazil, Then down to Rio and Sao Paulo. The entire trip took about four days. The normal schedule was Frankfurt to Rio and flight time was 96 hours and 35 minutes, so just less than four days. The Zeppelins were very limited compared to aircraft and only had twenty passeger cabins, but for long distance flights in a short time, they couldn't be beat. Planes were faster, but they had to land to refuel much more often. Sailing from Frankfurt would be four weeks or more to Rio, and it would take two, maybe three weeks, by plane.

The Hindenburg went down because the Americans who owned a monopoly on the helium supply stopped selling helium to Germany, so the Germans were forced to use the highly flammable hydrogen gas instead, with the result of the Hindenburg bursting into flames over New Jersey in 1937. After that, Zeppelin flights were stopped entirely. The facilities were converted to producing aircraft for the Luftwaffe in WWII and were heavily bombed.

The German Zeppelins carried lots of packages and mail in addition to a few first class passengers every trip.

More on the flight schedules and flight times of Zeppelins here.
https://www.airships.net/hindenburg/flight-schedule/

Second largest Brazilian Airline (First Airline in Brazil), originally part of Lufthansa.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servi%C3%A7os_A%C3%A9reos_Cruzeiro_do_Sul

Mail and other collectibles from Zeppelins fetches prime $$$ in collectors circles
https://www.dickkeiser.com/results.asp?searchtype=&category_1=Covers&category_2=Zeppelins&category_3=&category_4=&group=100&pagenum=1

Airships
https://www.airships.net/
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 10:13:33 PM by GameDaddy »
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GameDaddy

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Quote from: Lurkndog;1125389
Even without the issues of using hydrogen for lift, airships are very vulnerable to air conditions. You basically can't fly them in high winds or turbulence. If you get caught in a downdraft, it will smash the airship into the ground. That obviously limits when and where you can use them, but it also limits their practical range, because they need to be able to get back to a hangar before things start to get rough. Their hangars are also gigantic and expensive.

The part about using them in high winds, somewhat true, however they took advantage of prevailing winds, especially the trade winds, more often then not, and could fly away from storms faster than the storms move for the most part. Ther Germans didn't lose Zeppelins to bad weather, but the Americans did lose airships, quite often, because they designed round blimps instead of aerodynamic shaped cigars with large ailerons which allowed the German Zeppelins to fly smoothly directly into heavy winds.

While the German officers generally viewed Hindenburg as an all-weather ship, they were very sensitive to the danger of thunderstorms and generally kept their ship below the clouds so they could observe and assess threatening clouds before entering them.  In Hugo Eckener’s 1919 instruction guide for zeppelin operations (the closest thing the crew of the Hindenburg had to a flight manual), Eckener stated:  “The fundamental principle covering squalls and thunderstorms is:  If possible, avoid such cloud formations!”

Thunderstorms presented two principal risks; the potential for structural damage, and the possible ignition of hydrogen by electrical activity.  The Germans were very sensitive to the possibility of structural damage caused by the violent convective activity in and around thunderstorms (such as the structural failure which destroyed the USS Shenandoah).  The Hindenburg’s officers were also aware of the danger posed by thunderstorms when operating with hydrogen as a lifting gas.  Since the strong updrafts of a thunderstorm could cause the ship to rise above pressure height, resulting in the automatic release of flammable hydrogen in an electrically charged environment, Hindenburg’s officers generally went to great lengths to avoid operating in or near thunderstorms, and one of Hugo Eckener’s basic operating rules was that a zeppelin should never valve hydrogen in a thunderstorm.

Hindenburg was powered by four reversible 890 kW (1,190 hp) Daimler-Benz diesel engines which gave the airship a maximum speed of 135 km/h (84 mph). Although the Graf Zeppelin had the same engine car design in its early stages of construction, the pods were later completely redesigned to power tractor propellers. The engines had a water recovery system which captured the exhaust of the engines to minimize weight lost during flight.

In short, The winds would have to exceed 70 Mph to force a Zeppelin off course. Also the Americans sucked ass at designing airships, the best Navy Airships the B Class Blimps built by Curtiss Aircraft for the U.S. After WWI but before WWII had these performance characteristics.

Curtiss Class B Blimp General characteristics
    Length: 163 ft 0 in (49.70 m)
    Diameter: 31 ft 6 in (9.60 m)
    Volume: 84,000 ft3 (2,380 m3)
    Powerplant: 1 × Curtiss OXX V-8, 100 hp (37 kW)

Performance
    Maximum speed: 47 mph (76 km/h)[/B]
    Cruise speed: 35 mph (56 km/h)
    Range: 927 miles (1,492 km)
    Endurance: 26 hours  30 min


So only 1/4 of the cruising range, and less than half the speed of a German Zeppelin. Later right before WWII the Navy introduced a new class of Blimp the K Class (based on German designs, ...of course) That performed much better. Before and during World War II, 134 K-class blimps were built, configured for patrol and anti-submarine warfare operations and were extensively used in the Navy’s anti-submarine efforts in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean areas.

Curtiss K Class Blimp Characteristics
General characteristics
    Crew: 9–10
    Length: 251 ft 8 in (76.73 m)
    Diameter: 57 ft 10 in (17.63 m)
    Volume: 425,000 ft3 (12,043 m3)
    Useful lift: 7,770 lb (3,524 kg)
    Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-2 radials, 425 hp (317 kW) each

Performance
    Maximum speed: 78 mph (125 km/h)
    Cruise speed: 58 mph (93 km/h)
    Range: 2,205 miles (3,537 km)
    Endurance: 38 hours  12 min

The US Navy's experiences with K-ships in tropical regions showed a need for a blimp with greater volume than the K-class to offset the loss of lift due to high ambient temperatures. Goodyear addressed these concerns with a follow-on design, the M-class blimp, which was 50% larger.

Goodyear M Class Blimp Characteristics

Specifications (M-2)

General characteristics
    Crew: 10-14
    Length: 302 ft 0 in (92.07 m)
    Diameter: 69 ft 6 in (21.19 m)
    Height: 92 ft 6 in (28.20 m)
    Volume: 647,000 ft3 (18,320 m3)
    Useful lift: 10,000 lb (4,356 kg)
    Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-2 radials, 550 hp (410 kW) each

Performance
    Maximum speed: 80 mph (128 km/h)
    Cruise speed: 58 mph (93 km/h)
    Endurance: 50 hours  30 min

Armament
    1 × .50 M2 machine gun
    8 × 350 lb (159 kg) AN-Mk 47 depth charges

The Americans were always about twenty years behind the Germans in Zeppelin and Blimp design tech.

Performance Stats for the Hindenburg

Specifications
Hindenburg-class airships were three times longer and twice as tall as a Boeing 747.

General characteristics

    Crew: ca. 40
    Capacity: ca. 50 passengers for LZ-129 (later upgraded to 72), 40 passengers for LZ-130
    Length: 245.3 m (803 ft 10 in)
    Diameter: 41.2 m (135 ft 0 in)
    Volume: 200,000 m3 (7,100,000 ft3)
    Useful lift: 10,000 kg (22,046 lb)
    Powerplant: 4 × Daimler-Benz DB 602 16-cylinder diesel engines, 735 kW (1100 hp) each

Performance
    Maximum speed: 131 km/h (81 mph)
    Range: 5,153 Nautical Miles
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 10:09:07 PM by GameDaddy »
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GameDaddy

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Quote from: RPGPundit;1126572
I still bemoan the loss of Zeppelins. Of course they're inefficient compared to planes, but it would have been marvelous.

Not Really. They are not as fast, however Zeppelin and balloon flights are much much smoother, and they still have better flight range than most commercial aircraft. I always like a sleeping cabin anyway, and a voyage that takes a few days instead of a few hours. The Germans have started building and flying them again so you may get a chance to fly in one yet. I would definitely fly in one if they built long distance passenger versions with staterooms again.

Zeppelin NT
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeppelin_NT
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 10:00:24 PM by GameDaddy »
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spon

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It is my understanding that, although originally designed to use Helium, the Hindenburg and Graf Zeppelin were only ever flown using Hydrogen, as the Americans could not be convinced to ease their embargo on Helium. Also, they apparently bought Duralumin from the wreck of the R101 for tests during the design and construction of the Hindenburg. Not sure if they actually used any in the construction itself, but if they did that's some pretty unlucky metal! Hmmm, maybe a scenario Idea there.

Omega

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Quote from: spon;1128986
Also, they apparently bought Duralumin from the wreck of the R101 for tests during the design and construction of the Hindenburg. Not sure if they actually used any in the construction itself, but if they did that's some pretty unlucky metal! Hmmm, maybe a scenario Idea there.

According to notes Yes the Zeppelin Company did indeed buy as much as 5 tons of Duralumin from the company that salvaged the R101. But no idea if they used it for the Hindenburg.

Trond

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Quote from: spon;1128986
It is my understanding that, although originally designed to use Helium, the Hindenburg and Graf Zeppelin were only ever flown using Hydrogen, as the Americans could not be convinced to ease their embargo on Helium. Also, they apparently bought Duralumin from the wreck of the R101 for tests during the design and construction of the Hindenburg. Not sure if they actually used any in the construction itself, but if they did that's some pretty unlucky metal! Hmmm, maybe a scenario Idea there.


The Graf Zeppelin was designed for hydrogen, but could have been converted to helium. The Hindenburg was the other way round; it was designed for helium, but had to be converted (made more fire proof) for the use of hydrogen because of the embargo. That's possibly part of the reason why it blew up, it might have been safer if it had been designed with hydrogen in mind from the start.

VisionStorm

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Quote from: GameDaddy;1128832
I did a lot of research for a book I was working on for airships. The Hindenburg and the Graf Zepplin, and the other large German Zeppelins were a technological marvel. In the 1920's and 1930's aircraft had a limited range and needed airfields, with service and support facilities. The Zeppelins did not, so they could easily setup routes anywhere they liked. The maintenance crew lived onboard the airship, and the airship carried a complete set of spare parts and had machine shops on board so they could fabricate what they needed for service or repairs. They used helium which was plentiful back, and everyone was experimenting with them.

The Zeppelins travelled four or five times faster than the fastest steamships of the time, and didn't need airports for fuel, service, or landings. The Zeppelin routes from Berlin to Rio De Janeiro in 1936 ran from Europe, with stops in France, to Morocco, to the Canary Islands, the across the Atlantic to Recife in Brazil, Then down to Rio and Sao Paulo. The entire trip took about four days. The normal schedule was Frankfurt to Rio and flight time was 96 hours and 35 minutes, so just less than four days. The Zeppelins were very limited compared to aircraft and only had twenty passeger cabins, but for long distance flights in a short time, they couldn't be beat. Planes were faster, but they had to land to refuel much more often. Sailing from Frankfurt would be four weeks or more to Rio, and it would take two, maybe three weeks, by plane.

The Hindenburg went down because the Americans who owned a monopoly on the helium supply stopped selling helium to Germany, so the Germans were forced to use the highly flammable hydrogen gas instead, with the result of the Hindenburg bursting into flames over New Jersey in 1937. After that, Zeppelin flights were stopped entirely. The facilities were converted to producing aircraft for the Luftwaffe in WWII and were heavily bombed.

The German Zeppelins carried lots of packages and mail in addition to a few first class passengers every trip.

More on the flight schedules and flight times of Zeppelins here.
https://www.airships.net/hindenburg/flight-schedule/

Second largest Brazilian Airline (First Airline in Brazil), originally part of Lufthansa.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servi%C3%A7os_A%C3%A9reos_Cruzeiro_do_Sul

Mail and other collectibles from Zeppelins fetches prime $$$ in collectors circles
https://www.dickkeiser.com/results.asp?searchtype=&category_1=Covers&category_2=Zeppelins&category_3=&category_4=&group=100&pagenum=1

Airships
https://www.airships.net/


Zeppelins were way before my time and I never saw much of them other than some scenes in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, so they never made a big impression on me as a kid. But this is some interesting stuff that put some things in perspective, specially the stuff about maintenance crews living on the ship and the long journeys the would take. Transporting that into a fantasy (perhaps steampunk-ish) world I could almost see an entire culture or caste of people living in the skies, moving from realm to realm in their vast fleet of ships, docking for supplies in sky cities before setting off again--watching out for sky pirates along the way and things like that. Even in a non-fantasy world more grounded in reality the possibilities are pretty vast.

Omega

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Pretty sure Crimson Skies played with that idea at least once.

RPGPundit

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Quote from: GameDaddy;1128843
Not Really. They are not as fast, however Zeppelin and balloon flights are much much smoother, and they still have better flight range than most commercial aircraft. I always like a sleeping cabin anyway, and a voyage that takes a few days instead of a few hours. The Germans have started building and flying them again so you may get a chance to fly in one yet. I would definitely fly in one if they built long distance passenger versions with staterooms again.

Zeppelin NT
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeppelin_NT


I've heard that claim many time over the decades. But it's never really panned out.
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