Technical Characteristics of Schwarz's Airship
For the lift of his airship Schwarz anticipated the usage of
hydrogen. Hydrogen is a dangerous inflammable gas. Schwarz's airship,
therefore, consisted of 12 separate compartments, each filled with hydrogen.
The pointed forward part of the airship was 11 metres long, the central,
cylindrical part was 24.32 metres long and the rear part, that was shaped like a
hemisphere, was 3 metres long. The airship's total length was 38.32 metres, and
it was 12 metres wide. The airship's outer casing consisted of long aluminium
foils 0.18 - 0.20 mm thick, which were riveted to the skeleton of the airship
and were impervious to air.
The skeleton of the airship consisted of 34 aluminium latticed props
of different shapes and sizes. There were 13 oval openings in the lower part of
the airship that were used for filling each of 13 separate compartments with
The airship's gondola was made out of thin aluminium plates, and was
hanged on four props that were connected to two strong props of the airship's
The Daimler engine had 16 hp and it propelled all four airship's
propellers. There was one propeller on each side of the of the airship. These
propellers were 2 metres wide were propelled via driving belts. The main
propeller was 2.6 metres wide and was located 3 metres behind the airship's
gondola. This propeller was also propelled via by a driving belt. The fourth
propeller was hanged directly below the gondola and was propelled by a long
shaft. This propeller was supposed to support lifting and descending of the
airship. The main propeller was axially movable, which thus enabled the airship
to fly in any direction wanted.
The engine's exhaust pipe was installed in such a way that exhaust
fumes could not ignite the hydrogen. The aluminium skeleton of the airship, as
well as the casing of aluminim foils is the most important invention in the
development of airships. It is also one of the main reasons why Schwarz's
creation is called an airship, and not a balloon. Up to that moment there were
several attempts to create successful directable balloons. However, the
installation and usage of an engine on a gondola of a balloon proved very
dangerous. Namely, the silk out of which a balloon is made of is very flammable,
and this, therefore, increases the possibility of hydrogen catching fire. The
tragic death of dr. Karl Wölfert is an good example for this.
The weight of Schwarz's airship was 3, 560 kg, the estimated speed was
25 km/h, and the airship could reach at least the height of 250 metres. The
force of lift of the airship was 3, 800 kg. This means that the airship could
lift and carry one person and 130 kg of ballast.
The Construction and Testing of the Airship
Copyright © 1998 - 2004 Ante Sucur