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SS with Be2c car
SSZ 37

On this day 18 March 1915

Published: 18 Mar 2014

On this day 18 March 1915

First flight of an SS non-rigid airship at Kingsnorth

The prototype SS airship was created at RNAS Kingsnorth and was effectively a B.E.2c aeroplane fuselage and engine minus wings, tailfin and elevators, slung below the disused envelope from airship His Majesty's Airship No. 2 (a Willows No. 4) that had been lying deflated at the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), Farnborough Airfield. The first SS non-rigid airship was ready for evaluation trials within a fortnight of approval being granted for the scheme, and on 18 March 1915 the first SS class airship entered service.

The whole process had taken just a few weeks. Several versions were produced using different aircraft fuselages. SS class non-rigid airships were developed as a matter of some urgency to counter the German U-boat threat to British shipping during World War I.

The class proved to be versatile and effective, with a total of 158 being built in several versions.

Airship Heritage Trust website


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