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PLEASE NOTE: The Spring 2017 price changes that Shapeways introduced for Frosted Detail printed items increased the price of this model enormously. Rather than remove it altogether, I have placed it in the LEGACY section of my shop. I will introduce a new version in other materials and at a lower price as soon as I can . I do have a number of models to work through however, so please bear with me. Message me if you would like to know when the new model is likely to be available.
The newly elected Labour government of 1924 in Westminster, London soon launched its' "Imperial Airship Scheme". This was an ambitious plan to link the then enormous British Empire with an air service using a fleet of purpose built rigid airships, the first two being the R100 and the R101.
The R101 was built at the public airship works at Cardington in Bedfordshire, England and was soon nicknamed the "Socialist Airship". R100, the "Capitalist Airship" was built as a private enterprise (with finance from Vickers) at Howden in Yorkshire. Setting up the two construction projects in competition with each other was a deliberate bid to encourage innovation in design and technical development.
The R100 was the simpler design of the two (although both had ground breaking features) but ultimately proved to have superior air handling qualities. On 16 December 1929 she was cautiously walked out of her shed by four hundred soldiers, trimmed and ready to make her maiden voyage. All went well and R100 was taken south to be moored at the new Airship Mast at Cardington in Bedfordshire where further test flights were completed. There was little that needed to be changed and on 29 July 1930, R100 left Cardington en route for St. Hubert Air Station, Montreal, where a mooring tower and refueling and gassing facilities had been provided by the Canadian Government. Although designed to carry 100 passengers in luxury, on this inaugural flight there were just 13 on board, and a crew of 42. The airship reached Montreal on 1 August after surviving a violent thunderstorm as she was passing along the St Lawrence river. Whilst in Canada R100 flew to Ottawa and Toronto and then crossed the Niagara Falls for a flight over New York state. She was back in England on 16 August, completing the return trip in 57 hours 56 minutes assisted by a tail wind. The outbound journey had taken 78 hours and 49 minutes. With this immensely successful trans-Atlantic voyage behind her, R100 was put in her shed at Cardington and thoroughly overhauled in preparation for more intercontinental flights. Then came the tragedy with R100's sister ship the R101, and the great promise that R100 offered was forgotten.......