Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,152 pages of information and 245,599 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

23-Class Airship

From Graces Guide

The 23 class were rigid airships produced in the United Kingdom during the First World War.

They were designed by Vickers, who also built the first and last of the four ships, with the other two being built by William Beardmore and Co and Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft. While the 23 class airships were never used in combat, the four ships provided many hours of valuable training and experimental data for British airship crews and designers.

Although a total of 17 of these ships were contemplated at one time, only four were ever built. The 23 class was found to be significantly overweight, leading to its cancellation in favour of the more-refined R23X class.

Variants

23r

  • Construction of 23r was begun by Vickers on 1 January 1916. Construction was delayed by materials shortages (including the shortage of linen caused by the Easter rising in Ireland) and strikes. The trial flight took place at Barrow on 19 September 1917.

24r

  • When the decision was taken to lighten the overweight 23r and 25r in October 1917, 24r was tested as well. The problem was found to be even worse, with 24r weighing around 1,500 lb (680 kg) more than her sisters – a difference that was eventually traced to the use of slightly larger and heavier fasteners throughout her structure.

25r

  • 25r was built by Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft and completed five weeks after 23r, in October 1917. When found to have the same weight problems during trim trials carried out in a hangar at Armstrong-Whitworth's airship works at Barlow, North Yorkshire, she was similarly lightened, carrying out her first test flight on 14 October 1917.

R26

  • R26 was the first airship designated under the new system of adding an "R" prefix rather than an "r" suffix for rigids and had the benefit of only being in the early stages of construction when the weight problems with her sisters were discovered, allowing weight-saving measures to be implemented from the outset.

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