Mooring Masts and Landing Trucks for Airships 290054
ATTAINMENT of the full potentialities of airships as carriers is dependent upon and will be greatly expedited by the solution of mooring and ground-handling problems. It is felt that the fundamental solutions have been found, and trials of newly designed equipment are virtually at hand. Communities that desire to erect mooring masts and provide servicing facilities are advised to await patiently the further trial of experimental equipment designed by the engineers stationed at the Naval Air Station at Lakehurst, N. J. This equipment is now under construction on contract.
Evolution of the mooring mast, a British post-war device, and the present methods of mooring an airship to the mast are described to show the trend of development.
Three phases of the problem of providing suitable facilities at airship terminals are set forth, and it is stated that a mooring mast having certain characteristics can serve as the nucleus of all the systems and equipment for accomplishing the operations in all three phases.
A stub mooring-mast is the central piece of equipment, and a wheeled carriage is provided to which the after-car of the airship is attached. The stern-carriage travels around the mast on a circular track with the veering of the wind, supporting the stern of the ship to prevent it striking the ground and holding it down against upward thrusts of air currents. The latest design of stub mast is extensible and has an upper telescopic portion that can be lowered out of the path of the ship when taking off. A power winch is provided at the base of the mast for drawing the nose of the ship to the mooring cone at the top of the mast. Facilities for servicing the ship with fuel, water, helium and electricity are also provided in the base.
A mobile mooring mast now under construction will make possible the moving of an airship into and out of the hangar mainly by mechanical means, which will be safer and more economical than by manpower. Auxiliary equipment for this purpose is described.
It is believed that, with further development of the low-mast mooring-out system, an airship will be capable of remaining out for very long periods, being moved into the hangar only for extensive repairs. All landings will be to a mast instead of into the hands of a ground-crew, and the mast will be the principal unit used for safely moving the ship across the field and in the mechanical handling-equipment for housing and unhousing the ship.
Thorough analysis of wind gusts will be a great help in solving the problem of the safe handling and mooring of airships, but one of the most helpful lines of endeavor will be the study of improved designs of hangars.