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.

Astra-Torres Airships

From Graces Guide

The Astra-Torres airships were non-rigid airships built by Société Astra to a design by Spaniard Leonardo Torres Quevedo in France between about 1908 and 1922.

They had a highly-characteristic tri-lobed cross-section rather than the more usual circular cross-section. This was the result of moving most of the blimp's bracing wires inside the envelope in an attempt to minimise drag. Early Astra-Torres airships could be trimmed by moving the entire gondola fore-and-aft.

Astra-Torres airships were used by the French Navy during World War I and for a few years before and after. A few of these were transferred to the American expeditionary forces in Europe, and AT-1, AT-13, and AT-17 were eventually taken back to the United States.

Britain's Royal Navy (Royal Naval Air Service) purchased AT-14, AT-17, and AT-19, these becoming HMA No. 3, HMA No. 8, and HMA No. 16 respectively. All were taken out of service in May 1916, although the Astra-Torres design was imitated in Britain's own Coastal Class Blimps that served through to the end of the War.

After the war, AT-16 was operated by Transaérienne, carrying sightseeing passengers over Paris, and AT-24 was purchased by the Japanese Navy.

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