Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Sat Aug 21, 2021 11:36 am


Breakthrough Solar Panels Store Energy Just Like Plants!

Yes, we have solar panels, but they don't work in the same way plants do. But what if the future Of solar was panels that didn’t create electricity that needed to be used that instant, but instead created fuel that could be used any time? Come join us as we discuss why this technology is so game-changing!

Self fuelling jump drives.

Well, power plants.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Sat Aug 21, 2021 6:25 pm


Vehicle: Unpowered Wagon

1. Technological level seven, which apparently potentially allows a speed of slow, compared to very slow below.

2. Maximum ten spaces; I suspect potential speed does not translate into ransacking speed and fuel capacity for more spaces, or adding to them.

3. Maybe if you carry hay or Gatorade.

4. Agility minus one.

5. Examples include bicycle, rickshaw, caret and wagon.

6. Image

7. Hull would be ten.

8. Shipping is five tonnes

9. Default cost would be a thousand starbux.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Sat Aug 21, 2021 6:52 pm

Vehicle: Unpowered Wagon

10. You could equip it with an external power source (receiver)

11. That would take up five percent of the default spaces.

12. Train variant says technological level four, so I assume that would be by electrical wire, and I'll assume that would cost an additional twenty five hundred starbux

13. I guess a simple way of moving around two and three quarter tonnes of cargo, and or nine passengers and crew.

14. Leapfrog to technological level eight, and you can take the show on the road, for a one thousand starbux.

15. Slow is between fifty to a hundred klicks per hour, which wouldn't have been my definition of it.

16. I think we can forego trying to turn it into an aircraft, since unless it's a balloon, we'd have to add wings.

17. And then we have the auxiliary grav drive, which will take up two and half spaces, and double cost to two hundred starbux per space, so two kilostarbux; agility is now minus two, and speed moves down one band to very slow, or twenty to fifty kilometres, with cruise at idle, one to twenty klicks per hour.

18. I bet you're wondering what motivates this anti grav wagon.

19. Image
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Sun Aug 22, 2021 12:02 pm

Vehicle: Unpowered Wagon

20. That would be funny, if it was feasible, and if it was feasible in Traveller, it would be funnier.

21. No, that's why you need an external power source.

22. In this instance, I'll assume microwave towers.

23. And the external power received for the grav vehicle will cost five kilostarbux.

24. If you make it wind powered, by adding two hundred starbux per space, and I suppose that makes it six hundred starbux per space, if you anti grav it.

25. Medium speed is a hundred to two hundred klicks per hour.

26. I'm not sure how you half range, but speed declines to fifty to a hundred klicks.

27. Or, with a clean slate, you can place a fusion reactor on the wagon, and push it where you need power.

28. You don't actually need a fusion reactor that runs on internal juice for a century, since it needs a annual tune up in any event, and maintenance cost.

29. So you can wonder, like a jump drive, how much is the fusion reactor, and how much is the hydrogen tank.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Sun Aug 22, 2021 12:05 pm

Vehicle: Unpowered Wagon

30. Assuming one space is half a tonne, ten spaces is five tonnes.

31. Though, if you think about it, a chassis's spaces are only the leftovers after accounting for the basic hull, power plant, and drive system.

32. So in theory, a space could well be a quarter tonne; which incidentally, is the vehicle cargo capacity.

33. The fusion reactor would fall in with the early fusion phase, which is about ten power points per tonne.

34. If spacecraft fusion reactors need ten percent volume per four weeks for fuel, that about one hundred thirty percent per annum, and a century means the fuel tank would be in ratio of one to one hundred thirty.

35. That would be 0.007633587 percent of the volume allocated to the fusion reactor being the actual reactor.

36. In theory, since fusion reactors were introduced in technological level eight, you could reduce the size of the actual power plant by twenty percent, which could explain the doubling of fuel endurance.

37. And if you could figure out a way to attach solar panelling, the fuel will last for four hundred years.

38. If you use it to power a vehicle, and just use a speed limiter to restrict it to cruising, I'll assume that endurance will increase by fifty percent to one hundred fifty years.

39. I guess if you can install spacecraft turrets and weapon systems in vehicles, you could install a spacecraft fusion reactor.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Sun Aug 22, 2021 12:09 pm

Vehicle: Unpowered Boat

1. Fifty percent more cost per space than an unpowered wagon.

2. Optimum size may be two hundred forty spaces, which would making shipping thirty tonnes.

3. Technological level eleven allows high speed, two to three hundred klicks per hour.

4. That's a lot of sails or rowers.

5. Auxiliary grav drive would have agility minus two, take up sixty spaces, and cost three hundred starbux per space.

6. Speed would be reduced to medium, a hundred to two hundred klicks per hour, cruising to slow, fifty to a hundred klicks per hour.

7. Range is halved to three hundred.

8. If you add in external power, five percent would be four point eight spaces.

9. I'll assume the cost of ten kilostarbux per space is based on total number of default spaces, which would be an added two and two fifths megastarbux.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Sun Aug 22, 2021 12:22 pm


Avatar: SA-2 Samson | Aircraft Breakdown

Spacedock heads to the jungles of Pandora to take a look at the SA-2 Samson Utility Rotorcraft.

1. Hardened systems.

2. Hostile environment.

3. Accumulator tank, for emergency overpressure.

4. Ducted fans have greater protection.

5. Rugged simplicity.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Mon Aug 23, 2021 1:29 pm


Future of Blade-less Wind Turbines - Solid State Wind!

For Decades the wind turbine has been at the center of renewable energy generation. But the future of blade-less wind turbines is interesting, as it is poised to decentralized wind energy production. So what does solid state wind turbines look like, and what impact will they have? Let's take a deeper dive!

1. Cats.

2. Resonate frequency.

3. Too much of a good thing.

4. Dyson.

5. Sweats.

6. Vertical axis turbines.

7. Ducted?

8. Go fly a kite.
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2021 1:10 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby wittsneil » Wed Aug 25, 2021 8:42 am

I think dyson 360 is also recommended.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Wed Aug 25, 2021 12:02 pm

Considering the rather innovative things they've pulled off with air movement.

I suspect their tangent off to batteries and electrical cars is going to be unproductive.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Wed Aug 25, 2021 5:28 pm


Why the Airship May Be the Future of Air Travel

Why the Airship May Be the Future of Sustainable Air Travel. Go to to sign up for free. And also, the first 200 people will get 20% off their annual premium membership. Just one short-haul flight a year produces 10% of our individual carbon emissions. We could go back to trains for our traveling, which produce about half the CO2 of a plane, but you don't always have the time. What if we could get the speed of air travel with the lower emissions of ground-travel? Enter the airship (aka blimp).

1. We'll have to see if it can compete with an anti gravity vehicle option, when time may be less of an issue.

2. I think it's more of a question of point to point, so they're not competing with railways.

3. I'm going to guess it's intracontinental delivery, versus trucking; and that may depend on how the road infrastructure is.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Wed Aug 25, 2021 9:59 pm

Vehicle: Airship

1. Pig: fly; agility minus three

2. Medium speed, one to to hundred klicks per hour capped technological level six.

3. Probably not much point beyond six kiloklick range.

4. Balloon technological level three; I think I'd use it like a flare gun in an emergency, possibly attaching a radio relay in a wilderness world.

5. It's like one tenth of a tonne per space in shipping volume.

6. Costs three hundred starbux per space.

7. Ten percent usage availability means actual cost three kilostarbux per space.

8. In terms of shipping space, usable space is one tonne, which comparatively to half tonne norm, is half capacity.

9. You can tether the balloon, or let it float to the edge of space.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Wed Aug 25, 2021 10:24 pm

Vehicle: Airship

10. Lifting bodies gives a range of one hundred to a thousand spaces.

11. Usability is doubled to twenty percent, at an extra kilostarbux per space.

12. That's twenty to two hundred usable spaces.

13. Hundred tonnes allows economy of scale, and shipping is now fifty tonnes volume.

14. Thousand spaces is one and three tenths megastarbux.

15. Usable space at twenty percent is sixty five hundred starbux per space.

16. One advantage has to be that maintenance should be cheaper since you don't need someone acquainted with anti gravity technology, so basically, mechanics.

17. Two hundred spaces is a nominal fifty tonnes of cargo.

18. One to two hundred klicks per hour, would mean six kiloklicks would be covered in thirty to sixty hours.

19. I think you could make a case for balloons and lifting bodies, economic or otherwise.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Thu Aug 26, 2021 12:58 pm

Vehicle: Airship

20. And it appears the lifting body option moves the speed band up a notch to high.

21. That's two to three hundred klicks per hour, or twenty to thirty hours to cover six kiloklix.

22. If you're willing to sacrifice fifty percent of the spaces, you move up a further five speed bands to hypersonic.

23. That's six kiloklix per hour, and by extension.

24. That's about New York to Paris, in less than an hour.

25. Doubling cost by space each iteration is somewhat ambiguous, if it's the default cost, or the adjusted default cost.

26. And if you're willing to sacrifice sixty percent, you can get the Hindenburg to go hypersonic.

27. However, I think the get out clause is that you have to include the total number of spaces, not just the usable ones.

28. So, all right's with the universe, and you can only sacrifice ten percent from the lifting body, and increase the speed band to fast, which is between three to five hundred klicks per hour.

29. That's twelve to twenty hours for six kiloklix.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:30 pm

Vehicle: Airship

30. Air/raft is technological level eight, has plus one agility, range of a kiloklix, six passengers and crew, shipping four tonnes, quarter tonne cargo, sixteen hull points, quarter of a megastarbux.

31. Lifting body is technological level seven.

32. Speed is high.

33. Range is six kiloklix.

34. Agility sucks at minus three.

35. Seven spaces for cargo, crew and passengers would be thirty five spaces, which is seven hull points, and three and a half shipping tonnes.

36. That's forty five and a half kilostarbux, about a fifth of the cost of an air/raft.

37. Autopilot improved (technological level seven) 7'500; one assumes basic control system; improved communications system (technological level eight) 75; computer/one (technological level eight) 500; basic navigation system (technological level five) 2'000; basic sensor systems (technological level five) 5'000; entertainment system (technological level five) 200.

38. 15'275 starbux.

39. Increase spaces to forty, and you have a tad over ten percent to play around, whether to increase speed, or some other space eating tweak, that will getting shipping to four tonnes.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:50 pm

Airships: Hindenburg

Flight Procedures and Controls
Normal Cruise Altitude

Hindenburg had a normal cruising altitude of 200 meters (650 feet), but was often flown much lower to stay below the clouds. Hindenburg’s officers believed it was important to observe cloud formations before entering them, to be able to assess the nature of the clouds and avoid thunderstorms, and Hindenburg flew as low as 100 meters (330 feet) when necessary to stay below the clouds.

It was also a fundamental premise of zeppelin operations taught by Hugo Eckener that ships should avoid traveling close to their pressure height, because of the possibility of ascending above pressure height and valving hydrogen, which always presented a certain risk of fire, especially in electrically charged environments.

Hindenburg’s low cruising altitude also provided passengers with spectacular views.

Normal Cruise Speed

Hindenburg’s engines were operated at a cruise setting of 1350 RPM during passenger operations, giving the ship an airspeed of approximately 125 km/h (approx. 67 knots, or 76 MPH), and this setting was rarely adjusted during a normal passenger flight.

Hindenburg’s normal cruise setting produced 820 h.p. and consumed 130 kg/hr of diesel fuel. If needed, Hindenburg’s engines could be operated up to 1520 RPM for full power, which produced 1050 h.p. and consumed 180 kg/hr of fuel.

Heading Control

Hindenburg’s heading was controlled by its rudders, which were manipulated by the helmsman (or rudderman), whose primary job was to keep the ship on its assigned heading.

The rudderman stood at the front of the control room, facing forward, and steered by reference to a repeater compass mounted in front of the wheel, which was controlled by the master gyroscopic compass located on the ship’s electrical room. The rudder station also had a magnetic compass, and pointers indicating the angle of deflection of the upper and lower rudders.

Pitch and Altitude Control

Hindenburg’s pitch was controlled by the ship’s elevators, which were manipulated by the elevatorman, whose primary job was to keep the ship as level as possible, primarily in the interest of passenger comfort.

The elevatorman was also expected to keep the ship at its assigned altitude whenever possible, but a much higher priority was placed on maintaining level trim than holding a fixed altitude. Pitch angles exceeding 5 degrees were considered to cause discomfort to passengers (an angle of 8 degrees or more would cause cups and glasses to slide off tables), and also increased fuel consumption, and Hindenburg’s officers also believed that steep angles of pitch placed a strain on the ship’s structure. Elevatormen were therefore expected to keep the ship as level as possible, even if it meant deviation from the assigned altitude, or required severe control inputs to counter the movement of the ship.

The elevatorman maneuvered his wheel partly by the feel of the ship, but primarily by reference to the instruments on the elevator panel, which included pointers to indicate elevator deflection and inclinometers to indicate the ship’s pitch. Each inclinometer was a curved glass tube containing a bubble which moved with changes in pitch, on the same principle as a carpenter’s level. The elevatorman was expected to “chase the bubble,” in other words, to spin the elevator wheel so his reference pointers chased the bubble in the inclinometer to keep the ship level.

The elevatorman also maintained a continuous scan on the other instruments on his panel, which displayed information about factors which would influence the ships’s pitch and altitude. These instruments included thermometers indicating ambient and gas cell temperatures, a hygrometer indicating humidity, a statoscope indicating small changes in altitude, a variometer (or vertical speed indicator) indicating the ship’s rate of climb or descent, and an altimeter.

Automatic Pilot

Hindenburg was equipped with a gyroscopic compass and automatic pilot system made by the Anschutz Company of Kiel, which used servo motors guided by the ship’s gyro compass to control the rudder and elevators and maintain the ship’s heading and pitch.

The master gyroscopic compass was located in a compartment just forward of the electrical room and controlled five repeater compasses (one at the rudder station, three in the navigation room, and one at rear of the control car).

The Anschutz automatic pilot system, after some initial adjustments, was accurate and effective, and in smooth weather it could hold a straighter course, and with application of smaller rudder angles (usually less than 3 degrees), than could be done by an experienced helmsman. When calm conditions prevailed, the auto-pilot sometimes remained engaged for as long as 40 hours.

The system was used only in calm conditions and at higher altitudes; when rough weather was encountered, or when the ship was operated closer to the ground, the system was disengaged and the elevators and rudders were manipulated by hand.

Elevator and Rudder Inputs

There were no specific procedures limiting the rate or angle of rudder and elevator deflection. While there was a general understanding among the crew that full ruddder and elevator inputs should be used judiciously, especially in rough air, the controls were sometimes put hard over as rapidly as the wheels could be spun.

Sharp turns were occasionally made without significant concern for possible strain on the ship, and rudder angles up to and exceeding 15 degrees were observed. For example, a memo by U.S. Navy observer Lt. Cdr. Francis Reichelderfer described a flight on Hindenburg in August, 1936, and noted:

During the flight over Washington Captain Lehmann was asked by a passenger to change course to pass over a spot which was close aboard. In response to Captain Lehmann’s orders to the steerman full rudder angle was applied with maximum possibly speed with no apparent questions by any of the officers in the control car. The air at the time was very rough…. My impression from that observation is that the ship was turned in the rough air typical of a summer afternoon overland, as sharply as a turn could be made and that the maneuver which appeared to me to be undesirably rough use of the controls was taken as a matter of course by the several Hindenburg officers in the control car.

The elevators were also frequently put hard over when necessary to keep the ship level, and Hindenburg’s officers believed (perhaps erroneously) that steep angles of pitch placed more strain on the ship than the hard maneuvering sometimes required to avoid them.

Applying sufficient elevator input to keep the ship in trim often required great physical effort, and a U.S. Navy observer, Lt. (j.g.) M. F. D. Flaherty, reported:

On several occasions the elevatorman was seen to change elevator angle from fifteen degrees up to fifteen degrees down just as fast as he could spin the wheel. Flying under bumpy conditions required a great deal of physical exertion…. After about twenty minutes on the elevator the operator became soaked with perspiration… In order to reach eighteen degrees up elevator angle to counteract a down inclination of the ship it seemed to take all the strength that the operator could apply… The maximum angle of inclination the ship assumed…was about five degrees up by the bow.”

Maintenance of Static Equilibrium

While Hindenburg usually began a transatlantic flight with its full capacity of slightly more than 7 million cubic feet of hydrogen, it usually landed with between 5 and 6 million cubic feet of gas remaining in its cells.

Hindenburg’s watch officers attempted to keep the ship from flying more than three degrees heavy or two degrees light, and the ship was generally flown within a half degree of static equilibrium; valving hydrogen during flight was an important part of that process.

The officers paid considerable attention to keeping the ship in equilibrium to avoid the need for steep angles of pitch, which would disturb the passengers, decrease speed, increase fuel consumption, and strain the ship. Having a level ship with full elevator control in both directions also made it safer to fly at lower altitudes, and since Hindenburg frequently flew only a few hundred feet above the surface, to stay under clouds and observe weather conditions in the ship’s path, it was considered especially important to keep the ship in static equilibrium. And Hugo Eckener had long warned airshipmen of the danger of driving a ship “dynamically to death; that is, to demand so much of her dynamically that in the event of a…stoppage of the motors the static resources will not suffice to keep her airborne.”

Since an airship becomes lighter as it burns fuel during flight, in order to maintain static equilibrium it is necessary either to generate additional ballast or to release lifting gas. Hindenburg’s engines were not equipped with water-recovery equipment (to create water from engine exhaust), and the ship’s system of rain gutters did not provide a reliable supply of ballast.

Without a dependable source of additional ballast, gas was valved freely to maintain equilibrium, and the ship routinely valved up to 1.5 million cubic feet of hydrogen during a North Atlantic crossing.

Valving, Replenishment, and Purity of Hydrogen

Hindenburg’s liberal valving of hydrogen to maintain level trim required the addition of about 20% fresh hydrogen every seven to ten days, which increased operational expenses, but had the benefit of maintaining the ship’s lifting gas at a high level of purity.

Maintaining a high level of purity (in other words, avoiding contamination of hydrogen by air) was an important safety feature in dealing with the flammable gas; pure hydrogen is difficult to ignite, but hydrogen mixed with air is highly volatile, so the purity of the gas was closely monitored.

Hindenburg navigated across the ocean primarily by means of dead reckoning; celestial navigation was rarely used, and when sightings were taken they were almost always for training and instruction rather than for navigation. Hindenburg was also equipped with direction finding equipment which could take fixes on radio stations on land or at sea to confirm the ship’s position, but radio navigation over the ocean at the time was rather primitive, and it was not considered nearly as accurate as dead reckoning.

Dead Reckoning

Hindenburg’s extremely precise dead reckoning was made possible by the accuracy of the ship’s drift measuring equipment and gyroscopic compass, and by the fact that the ship generally flew at a regular speed; Hindenburg’s engines were operated at a cruise setting of 1350 RPM during the course of a passenger flight, and this setting was rarely altered during flight.

Pressure Pattern Navigation

Like Graf Zeppelin, Hindenburg often used the technique of pressure pattern navigation which had been pioneered by Hugo Eckener during LZ-126’s crossing to America. Pressure pattern navigation takes advantage of the Coriolis effect, which causes wind to circulate in a counter-clockwise rotation around areas of low pressure in the northern hemisphere. During a westbound crossing of the north Atlantic, therefore, an airship can pick up a tail wind by skirting the northern edge of a storm, and during an eastbound crossing the ship can do the same thing by skirting the southern edge of a storm. Rather than avoid storms and fronts completely, therefore, Hindenburg’s officers frequently took advantage of them to increase speed and efficiency.

The Weather
The weather was perhaps the single most important factor in zeppelin operations. As Captain Lehmann once told a group of passengers on a tour, the meterological space “is where our mental processes begin; we study the weather and then we plan our flights.”

Weather Maps

During a north Atlantic crossing, the officers of Hindenburg drew four weather maps a day, based on information received by radio from land stations and ships at sea, as analyzed and relayed by the Deutsche Seewarte at Hamburg and radio station NAA of the United States Weather Bureau. Hindenburg would also contact ships sailing over its intended course for additional weather information, and a chart showing the location of seagoing vessels on the Atlantic was maintained for this purpose.

Hindenburg’s officers spent much time preparing the daily weather maps and consulted them extensively while flying the ship. The first duty of an officer beginning his watch was to make a detailed study of the most recent weather map.

The officers used these maps both to avoid dangerous fronts and squalls when possible, but also to take advantage of storms to increase speed and efficiency through the technique of pressure pattern navigation.

Two of the daily maps were large scale, covering the entire area from the interior of the United States to Russia, while two of the maps were less extensive, and covered primarily the Atlantic ocean. The relative scarcity and frequent inaccuracy of the weather reports passed on by ships at sea, however, was a source of of difficulty for the officers relying on this information to chart the weather.


While the German officers generally viewed Hindenburg as an all-weather ship, they were very sensitive to the danger of thunderstorms and generally kept their ship below the clouds so they could observe and assess threatening clouds before entering them. In Hugo Eckener’s 1919 instruction guide for zeppelin operations (the closest thing the crew of the Hindenburg had to a flight manual), Eckener stated: “The fundamental principle covering squalls and thunderstorms is: If possible, avoid such cloud formations!”

Thunderstorms presented two principal risks; the potential for structural damage, and the possible ignition of hydrogen by electrical activity. The Germans were very sensitive to the possibility of structural damage caused by the violent convective activity in and around thunderstorms (such as the structural failure which destroyed the USS Shenandoah). The Hindenburg’s officers were also aware of the danger posed by thunderstorms when operating with hydrogen as a lifting gas. Since the strong updrafts of a thunderstorm could cause the ship to rise above pressure height, resulting in the automatic release of flammable hydrogen in an electrically charged environment, Hindenburg’s officers generally went to great lengths to avoid operating in or near thunderstorms, and one of Hugo Eckener’s basic operating rules was that a zeppelin should never valve hydrogen in a thunderstorm.

Hindenburg Flight Manual
No flight or operations manual exists for the Hindenburg or the Graf Zeppelin, and neither the DZR (German Zeppelin Transport Company), which operated the Hindenburg, nor the LZ (Zeppelin Construction Company) which built the Hindenburg and built and operated the Graf Zeppelin, ever prepared a manual for operational or training purposes. There was no formal ground school for flight personnel, and all training was done by the apprentice method.

A flight manual was apparently in the process of being prepared at the time of the Hindenburg disaster; in a memo dated August 23, 1936, U.S. Navy officer Garland Fulton described a conversation with Ernst Lehmann about crew recruitment and training and noted: “The new manual on airship, which has been in preparation by the Germans for some time, is not yet complete. Captain Lehmann hopes to see its completion next winter. Meanwhile, the old manual prepared in 1918 by Dr. Eckener (“Brief notes and practical hints for the piloting of Zeppelin Airships”) is still a good guide as to German doctrines and practices…. There is no ‘ground school’ as such.”

An operations manual was not really needed by the flight personnel of the Hindenburg, since most of the officers and crew had been flying on zeppelins for decades (many began their zeppelin careers during World War I, and a few had even worked for the DELAG in the years before 1914). Training was all done hands-on, with new crew members learning their jobs from experienced hands. And the Hindenburg was also, in many ways, an experimental aircraft; it was the first in its proposed class, and was used as a flying laboratory for the development and testing of both equipment and procedures. If the planned expansion of the zeppelin fleet had taken place, more formalized training and reference materials would have been required, based on lessons learned from the Hindenburg, and these materials were apparently being prepared.

The DZR did have a “Crew Manual,” but it only briefly mentions operational matters (e.g. job descriptions for the elevator and rudden men, a list of landing station assignments by position, and a description of the Standby Watch duties of various crew members). Most of the Crew Manual discusses matters such as rank insignias and detailed uniform requirements and allowances (senior officers received RM 100 to purchase uniforms from a tailor of their choosing), and certain rules and regulations (“In using the wash rooms and toilets, every one should be careful to be neat and clean”).

The Officers and Crew
Hindenburg, like all large rigid airships, was not piloted like an airplane or a blimp, but commanded like an ocean-going vessel. Flying the Hindenburg was a complex operation which required the coordinated efforts of many individuals to operate and maintain the airship, monitor and respond to the weather, and navigate across long distances.

The Flight Crew

The ship was flown by a minimum flight crew of 39 officers and men (not including passenger service personnel such as cooks and stewards) under the command of the captain:

3 Watch Officers
3 Navigators
3 Ruddermen (helmsmen)
3 Elevatormen
Chief Rigger (Sailmaker)
3 Riggers (Sailmakers)
Chief Radio Officer
3 Assistant Radio Operators
Chief Engineer
3 Engineers
12 Machinists/Mechanics (assigned to engine cars)
Chief Electrician
2 Assistant Electricians
In addition to the flight crew, the ship’s passengers were served by a Chief Steward, a Chief Cook, and 10-12 stewards and assistant cooks. Hindenburg also began carrying a doctor in 1937.

Crew Watches

The ship’s personnel stood watches, as aboard a surface vessel. The watch officers, radio officers, engineering officers, and most other personnel stood a 4 hour watch, then had 4 hours of rest, and then spent 4 hours on standby watch (Pikett-Wache). Certain crew members stood 2 hour watches during the day and 3 hour watches at night, when conditions were generally calmer; these included the rudder men and elevator men, whose jobs were both mentally taxing and physically exhausting; the mechanics, who dealt with the noise and vibration of the engine cars; and the riggers, who prowled the ship inspecting and repairing gas cells, covering fabric, and other structural elements.

Crew members were assigned secondary duties during their standby watch; for example, the Radio Officer was responsible for handling the mail and making lists of passengers, the 1st rudder man was responsible for maintenance of the crew’s living and sleeping quarters , etc.

As on a surface vessel, the commanding officer stood no watch, but was of course always available.

Organization and Coordination of the Flight Crew

The flight crew was divided into two divisions; the navigation department (similar to the deck department on a steamship), who worked in and around the control car, and who were responsible for flying and navigating the ship (this group included the captain, watch officers, elevatormen, ruddermen, and radio operators), and the engineering department, who worked in the hull and engine cars of the ship, and who were responsible for the gas cells, power plant, fuel and ballast supply, and the structure of the ship (this group included the engineers, mechanics, electricians, and riggers). [Passenger services were provided by the stewards, headed by Chief Steward Heinrich Kubis, and the cooks, headed by Chief Cook Xaver Maier.]

Chief Engineer Rudolf Sauter at the engine telepgraphs in the Engineering Room along the keel.
Chief Engineer Rudolf Sauter

There was a distinct division between the two departments, who worked more or less autonomously under their respective chiefs, with surprisingly sparse communication about operational matters. In general, the captain and watch officers confined their attention to matters of navigation and flight control, and had confidence that the engineering department would keep the rest of the ship in excellent operating condition without much direct oversight. For example, one U.S. Navy observer noticed that when an engine was stopped during flight, the watch officers seldom asked the engineering officer to explain the cause of the stoppage, but were content simply with the engineer’s estimate of how long the engine would be out of service.

Crew responsibilities sometimes varied from the official job descriptions, however, in recognition of the backgrounds and specialties of particular individuals. For example, Captain Albert Sammt, who served as a Watch Officer, had years of experience with the construction and maintenance of gas cells and fabric covering, and so Chief Rigger Ludwig Knorr, in the engineering department, reported to Captain Sammt, in the navigation department. (Sammt and Knorr, along with Knut Eckener and Hans Ladwig, were the riggers who repaired the torn fin covering during Graf Zeppelin’s first flight to America.)

The Zeppelin Culture of Responsibility and Independence

There was, in general, a great deal of independence, autonomy, and discretion entrusted to individual members of the Hindenburg’s crew. For example, watch officers had the authority to valve gas, drop ballast, change the ship’s assigned altitude, and even alter course without the direct involvement of the captain. Of course, Hindenburg’s senior officers all had decades of service in zeppelins, and watch officers were generally qualified as airship captains themselves. Similarly, elevatormen were usually highly experienced, and were given wide discretion in the performance of their duties, as were ruddermen.

Landing Procedures

The way landings were conducted in the control car exemplified the independence and responsibility entrusted to the ship’s senior officers: Landing orders were given and executed by three watch officers acting on their own initiative, with the ship’s captain observing the landing evolution as a whole. Each officer, as well as the elevatorman and rudderman, had considerable discretion in performing his individual duties, and the commanding officer seldom issued a direct order. The captain observed the entire operation as a whole, but generally intervened only in the case of difficulty or if he disagreed with the actions of his officers.

Several of the United States Navy officers who flew as observers on the Hindenburg described the landing procedure, which was notably different from the procedure followed aboard American naval airships, in which the commanding officer actively directed the landing.

Lt. J.D. Reppy, who flew on four transatlantic flights of the Hindenburg, wrote:

Captain Lehmann of course would be on the bridge for the landing but generally acted in the capacity of observer and only gave an order when he considered that [some] phase of the landing was not going as it should. One officer handled the engines and he used his own judgment as to slowing, stopping, or backing the engines to have little or no ground speed at the instant of landing. Another officer had charge of the ballast and here also he exercised his own judgment as to when to drop ballast and also as to when to valve hydrogen…. The remaining officer coached the elevator man as to altitude and sometimes would order the ship valved if it appeared necessary. He also watched the rudderman to some extent but in general the rudderman maneuvered the ship himself, as necessary, to keep in the wind and pointed towards the landing point.

A similar description was provided by Lt. Cmdr. Francis Gilmer, who was an observer during four other transatlantic flights:

At “take offs” and “landings” the three senior watch officers are in the control car, in addition to the Commanding Officer. The officer with the watch is charged with the maneuver and one of the other watch officers directs the use of the elevators, the valving of gas and the dropping of ballast; the remaining watch officer directs the rudderman. There is excellent team work between the three. The Commanding Officer is of course in charge but seldom issues and order.

A Note About Sources:
As discussed above, the DZR (German Zeppelin Transport Company), which operated the Hindenburg, never produced a flight manual describing airship operations. The information on this page has been pieced together from a number of sources, including contemporary flight logs, photographs, the DZR Crew Manual, and Hugo Eckener‘s 1919 flight manual for the DELAG, and most importantly, on the reports and memoranda produced by American Navy officers who flew on the Hindenburg as observers, as well as the reminiscences and observations recorded by German zeppelin officers and by Harold Dick, the American representative of the Goodyear-Zeppelin Company who was based in Friedrichshafen and flew on numerous flights of the Hindenburg and Graf Zeppelin.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Thu Aug 26, 2021 2:15 pm

Airships: Comparison with heavier-than-air aircraft

The advantage of airships over aeroplanes is that static lift sufficient for flight is generated by the lifting gas and requires no engine power. This was an immense advantage before the middle of World War I and remained an advantage for long-distance or long-duration operations until World War II. Modern concepts for high-altitude airships include photovoltaic cells to reduce the need to land to refuel, thus they can remain in the air until consumables expire. This similarly reduces or eliminates the need to consider variable fuel weight in buoyancy calculations.

The disadvantages are that an airship has a very large reference area and comparatively large drag coefficient, thus a larger drag force compared to that of aeroplanes and even helicopters. Given the large frontal area and wetted surface of an airship, a practical limit is reached around 130–160 kilometres per hour (80–100 mph). Thus airships are used where speed is not critical.

The lift capability of an airship is equal to the buoyant force minus the weight of the airship. This assumes standard air-temperature and pressure conditions. Corrections are usually made for water vapor and impurity of lifting gas, as well as percentage of inflation of the gas cells at liftoff.[157] Based on specific lift (lifting force per unit volume of gas), the greatest static lift is provided by hydrogen (11.15 N/m3 or 71 lbf/1000 cu ft) with helium (10.37 N/m3 or 66 lbf/1000 cu ft) a close second.[158]

In addition to static lift, an airship can obtain a certain amount of dynamic lift from its engines. Dynamic lift in past airships has been about 10% of the static lift. Dynamic lift allows an airship to "take off heavy" from a runway similar to fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. This requires additional weight in engines, fuel, and landing gear, negating some of the static lift capacity.

The altitude at which an airship can fly largely depends on how much lifting gas it can lose due to expansion before stasis is reached. The ultimate altitude record for a rigid airship was set in 1917 by the L-55 under the command of Hans-Kurt Flemming when he forced the airship to 7,300 m (24,000 ft) attempting to cross France after the "Silent Raid" on London. The L-55 lost lift during the descent to lower altitudes over Germany and crashed due to loss of lift.[159] While such waste of gas was necessary for the survival of airships in the later years of World War I, it was impractical for commercial operations, or operations of helium-filled military airships. The highest flight made by a hydrogen-filled passenger airship was 1,700 m (5,500 ft) on the Graf Zeppelin's around-the-world flight.[160]

The greatest disadvantage of the airship is size, which is essential to increasing performance. As size increases, the problems of ground handling increase geometrically.[161] As the German Navy changed from the P class of 1915 with a volume of over 31,000 m3 (1,100,000 cu ft) to the larger Q class of 1916, the R class of 1917, and finally the W class of 1918, at almost 62,000 m3 (2,200,000 cu ft) ground handling problems reduced the number of days the Zeppelins were able to make patrol flights. This availability declined from 34% in 1915, to 24.3% in 1916 and finally 17.5% in 1918.[162]

So long as the power-to-weight ratios of aircraft engines remained low and specific fuel consumption high, the airship had an edge for long-range or -duration operations. As those figures changed, the balance shifted rapidly in the aeroplane's favour. By mid-1917, the airship could no longer survive in a combat situation where the threat was aeroplanes. By the late 1930s, the airship barely had an advantage over the aeroplane on intercontinental over-water flights, and that advantage had vanished by the end of World War II.

This is in face-to-face tactical situations. Currently, a high-altitude airship project is planned to survey hundreds of kilometres as their operation radius, often much farther than the normal engagement range of a military aeroplane.[clarification needed] For example, a radar mounted on a vessel platform 30 m (100 ft) high has radio horizon at 20 km (12 mi) range, while a radar at 18,000 m (59,000 ft) altitude has radio horizon at 480 km (300 mi) range. This is significantly important for detecting low-flying cruise missiles or fighter-bombers.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Thu Aug 26, 2021 2:16 pm

Vehicle: Airship

40. So, okay, it's five times cheaper than an air/raft, for about the same performance.

41. Still flies like a pig.

42. I'm not sure how large thirty five spaces is, but despite vertical take off and landing, parking will still require a lot of area.

43. Ground infrastructure is likely to require ground crew, plus helium gas storage.

44. There is a service ceiling, which for air/rafts seem the edge of space, and so far I gotten to a tad below three thousand metres for German Zeppelins bombing London.

45. A little research on the Hindenburg reveals it was a tad less long than the Titanic, and had a speed of one hundred and thirty one klicks per hour.

46. Crew was fortyish, and they managed to squeeze in seventy two passengers.

47. Apparently, weather balloons can hit a hundred thousand feet.

48. Service ceiling is apparently some compromise between lift and weight.

49. Hypothetically, there could be an airship lifted by a vacuum—that is, by material that can contain nothing at all inside but withstand the atmospheric pressure from the outside. It is, at this point, science fiction, although NASA has posited that some kind of vacuum airship could eventually be used to explore the surface of Mars.[153]
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Thu Aug 26, 2021 2:40 pm

Vehicle: Airship

50. If you're willing to sacrifice speed, a normal airship in comparison to lifting body kilospacer would need two thousand spaces to have the same capacity.

51. That's six hundred kilostarbux, about half of thirteen hundred kilostarbux for the largest lifting body.

52. It might be better to construct them dirtside, since they would take up twice the shipping volume of the lifting body.

53. Air/raft equivalent would be seventy spaces at twenty one kilostarbux, plus electronics.

54. Or eighty spaces at twenty eight kilostarbux for the same speed.

55. Checking the airship template, it seems that the minimum spaces for the lifting body is a hundred spaces, which means if you do use a lifting body to duplicate an air/raft, it would have three times capacity, and probably twelve times bigger.

56. Though, at that scale, you're probably better off trying to duplicate an air/raft trying to stuff an auxiliary grav motor into an unpowered boat or wagon.

57. Though highly visible and vulnerable, you have to leverage the low cost of transportation against an anti grav vehicle, and cost of operation.

58. Though I don't know how much you'd have to invest in ground infrastructure to support airship operations.

59. You'd almost certainly would have to build large hangars to store them.
Mongoose Superior
Posts: 10129
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Thu Aug 26, 2021 9:11 pm

Vehicle: Airship

60. What's the advantages you want to leverage from an airship?

61. Primarily, it has to be cost, and easy maintenance.

62. Structural deinforcement would reduce hull points by twenty five percent, but you get a discount of twenty five percent.

63. That would be 0.15 hull points per space, and 225 starbux per space, or at ten percent usability, 2'250 starbux/medium speed per space.

64. Lifting body would be 975'000 starbux for the kilospacer, or at twenty percent usability, 4,875 starbux/high speed per space.

65. Against I'll assume eight spaces of an air/raft, at 31,250 starbux/high speed per space.

66. Other competition are aircraft, railways, sea freighters, and trucking.

67. Like all things, speed has to be included in the time/space equation, including turnaround on the ground.

68. I figure hangar size would actually use shipping volume as the minimum.

69. If it fits inside the cargo hold, it will fit inside that same sized dirtside hangar.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 30 guests