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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Airship Hangars


 Aeronautics Architecture Aircraft Airship Construction Hangar Zeppelin

It would be impossible, in our day and age, to create such a project as Conde Ferdinand von Zeppelin's. Some argue it would be utopic and risky and that there are safer ways of making the oldest human dream of flying true. Nonetheless, according to circumstance, the airships existed and evolved to unthinkable limits, actually becoming a fairly common intercontinental means of transportation. They assured their passengers a breathtaking trip, but they were dangerous, expensive and, most of all, enormous. For the construction and maintenance of these flying machines huge hangars were needed.

 Aeronautics Architecture Aircraft Airship Construction Hangar Zeppelin

Moffett Hangar, England
These mega-structures were also fundamental to lodge the airships during their trips. Actually, the big wind sensibility of the huge baloons made it necessary to keep them in a close and covered space. The "storage" inside the hangars was a complex process, as well as the entire technology connected to these flying machines. You started out by anchoring the nose of the baloon to a cable connected to a crane and the same operation was made in its tail. The cranes slided inside the hangars, along railway lines, draging the airship.
Many of these buildings were located in Germany, where the von Zeppelin was created and expanded, from the end of the 19th century until World War II. Trips in airships became usual, hitting its peak between world wars. In Germany, colossal infrastructures was built in Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf; in the rest of Europe hangars were also built, mostly in France and England.

 Aeronautics Architecture Aircraft Airship Construction Hangar Zeppelin

Dusseldorf Hangar, Germany (has been destroyed)

 Aeronautics Architecture Aircraft Airship Construction Hangar Zeppelin

Cardington Hangares, England

 Aeronautics Architecture Aircraft Airship Construction Hangar Zeppelin

 Aeronautics Architecture Aircraft Airship Construction Hangar Zeppelin

Montebourg-Ecausseville Hangar, France
During WWII, bombings destroyed a big part of these buildings, as they were considered military targets. In Germany, bombs completely ravished every construction, the colossal hangars were reduced to debris.
The few survivors from this time are located in the USA. They are also the biggest, well in the American way. In the 30s, with the spread of intercontinental trips, the USA had a well assembled network of infrastructures, built in several air bases, destined to support airship flights. Some were destroyed or stopped working; others are still working and belong to the army that keeps the old hangars in use, making constructions nowadays look like dolls houses next to them.

 Aeronautics Architecture Aircraft Airship Construction Hangar Zeppelin

 Aeronautics Architecture Aircraft Airship Construction Hangar Zeppelin

Tustin Hangar, USA
One of the biggest hangars of this time, the Lakehurst, in New Jersey, is still active. It became well known for all the wrong reasons. That was where the gigantic Hindenburg used to be lodged. On the 6th of May of 1937, the German zeppelin, while getting close to the base to land, exploded and was consumed in a sea of flames in just 34 seconds... That was the end of the airships. The hangars remained.

 Aeronautics Architecture Aircraft Airship Construction Hangar Zeppelin

 Aeronautics Architecture Aircraft Airship Construction Hangar Zeppelin

 Aeronautics Architecture Aircraft Airship Construction Hangar Zeppelin

 Aeronautics Architecture Aircraft Airship Construction Hangar Zeppelin

 Aeronautics Architecture Aircraft Airship Construction Hangar Zeppelin

 Aeronautics Architecture Aircraft Airship Construction Hangar Zeppelin

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