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Types Of Airships There are three main types of airships 1 Nonrigid Airships 2 Rigid Airships 3 Semirigid Airships Nonrigid airships were the first airships and some are still flown today They dont have any major internal structures and dont have framework for the outer skin The gas pressure causes this skin called the envelope to keep its shape Modern day envelopes are made out of synthetic fabrics The smallest airships have been the nonrigid types Some have measured less than 30 metres long The largest nonrigid airships were the US Navys ZPG - 3W airships These airships were flown from 1958 - 1962 and were used for airborne early warning duties Every ZPG 3W measured about 120 metres long Todays nonrigid airships average about 60 metres in length They cruise at about 55 - 65 kilometres per hour at heights reaching approximately 2300 metres The US Navys B - class nonrigid airships built in 1917 gave rise to the term blimp for nonrigid aircraft The term came from B - nonrigid or B - limp Rigid airships the largest airships are no longer flown Engineers designed large airships because the bigger it is the more it can carry The main body of rigid airships is called the hull The most famous rigid airships had a hull that had wooden or metal framework that supported the outer skin Airships like this became known as Zeppelins named after Count Ferdinand Von Zeppelin who was a German airship pioneer Zeppelins were cigar shaped and ranged from 120 to over 240 metres long Advanced Zeppelin models could reach speeds of about 130 kilometres per hour Inside the hulls where several gas compartments called gas cells that held the lifting gas Many hulls had corridors where cargo crew quarters and the fuel tanks were located The outer envelopes of rigid airships were made from materials such as weatherproof cotton to aluminium alloy Semirigid
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