Several years ago some of the most prominent leaders in automotive industries cooperated to form a purely engineering group that had as its primary purpose developing a type of rigid-airship construction in which the public would have confidence. It was conceived that such an airship should be
Durable and permanent in structure
Navigable in practically all kinds of weather
Economical in the use of buoyant gas and ballast
To meet all of these requirements it was decided, after mature consideration, that a substantially all-metal construction was imperative. Development of the Metalclad airship has now reached a point where the general soundness of the design seems fully assured as
The structural and aerodynamic efficiencies have been established by both analytical and experimental methods
The technical problems involved in the construction have been mastered to a certainty hitherto unapproached in any new design
The general design of an airship of demonstration size, 200,000 cu. ft. or one-tenth the size of the Shenandoah, has been completed
Full-sized structural members of every part of the framework have been built and tested to destruction revealing that the minimum safety factor is double that of the Shenandoah. The longitudinal strength of the metal hull will be more than four times as great as that of the Shenandoah
The problem of riveting the metal hull-plating has been solved through the perfection of an automatic riveting-machine
The problem of making the metal hull gas-tight has been solved with surprising efficiency indicating an osmosis of about one-tenth that through gold-beaters skin and only one-hundredth that through rubberized fabric
A suitable coating to prevent corrosion has been satisfactorily tested
A source of supply of aluminum alloys of dependable quality is assured
Shop facilities for fabrication are available in Detroit
Skilled metal-workers familiar with aluminum and its alloys are at hand
These results depend upon certain fundamental principles that are described in the paper. In effect, the design is an entirely new one, but adheres to the fundamental unalterable principles underlying all sound engineering-work.
The paper states that the Metalclad airship is the last step in the development of rigid airships and most certainly must be adopted if such a means of transportation is to be made available both for the arms of National Defense and for commercial purposes.
Appendices that include extracts from studies and texts arranged to illustrate the subject matter in the main paper and furnish food for discussion supplement the paper. This material is partially elementary in form as limitations of space preclude any attempt at completeness.