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A History of Aeronautics by Marsh and Vivian

And the dirigible jumped immediately to 1


Zeppelin

was far from satisfied with the performance of this vessel, and he therefore set about collecting funds for the construction of a second, which was completed in 1905. By this time the internal combustion engine had been greatly improved, and without any increase of weight, Zeppelin was able to instal two motors of 85 horse-power each. The total capacity was 367,000 cubic feet of hydrogen, carried in 16 gas bags inside the framework, and the weight of the whole construction was 9 tons--a ton less than that of the first Zeppelin airship. Three vertical planes at front and rear controlled horizontal steering, while rise and fall was controlled by horizontal planes arranged in box form. Accident attended the first trial of this second airship, which took place over the Bodensee on November 30th, 1905, 'It had been intended to tow the raft, to which it was anchored, further from the shore against the wind. But the water was too low to allow the use of the raft. The balloon was therefore mounted on pontoons, pulled out into the lake, and taken in tow by a motor-boat. It was caught by a strong wind which was blowing from the shore, and driven ahead at such a rate that it overtook the motor-boat. The tow rope was therefore at once cut, but it unexpectedly formed into knots and became entangled with the airship, pulling the front end down into the water. The balloon was then caught by the wind and lifted into the air, when the propellers were set in motion. The front end was at this instant
pointing in a downward direction, and consequently it shot into the water, where it was found necessary to open the valves.'[*]

[*] Hildebrandt, Airships Past and Present.

The damage done was repaired within six weeks, and the second trial was made on January 17th, 1906. The lifting force was too great for the weight, and the dirigible jumped immediately to 1,500 feet. The propellers were started, and the dirigible brought to a lower level, when it was found possible to drive against the wind. The steering arrangements were found too sensitive, and the motors were stopped, when the vessel was carried by the wind until it was over land--it had been intended that the trial should be completed over water. A descent was successfully accomplished and the dirigible was anchored for the night, but a gale caused it so much damage that it had to be broken up. It had achieved a speed of 30 feet per second with the motors developing only 36 horse-power and, gathering from this what speed might have been accomplished with the full 170 horse-power, Zeppelin set about the construction of No. 3, with which a number of successful voyages were made, proving the value of the type for military purposes.

No. 4 was the most notable of the early Zeppelins, as much on account of its disastrous end as by reason of any superior merit in comparison with No. 3. The main innovation consisted in attaching a triangular keel to the under side of the envelope, with two gaps beneath which the cars were suspended. Two Daimler Mercedes motors of 110 horse-power each were placed one in each car, and the vessel carried sufficient fuel for a 60-hour cruise with the motors running at full speed. Each motor drove a pair of three-bladed metal propellers rigidly attached to the framework of the envelope and about 15 feet in diameter. There was a vertical rudder at the stern of the envelope and horizontal controlling planes were fixed on the sides of the envelope. The best performances and the end of this dirigible were summarised as follows by Major Squier:--


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