Goodyear ‘C’ Class
The BA contract was followed by others for C and D-Class ships, each slightly larger and more improved than the preceding type.
The Goodyear ‘C’ class airship was a type which must be counted the most successful design ever produced for the type of work envisaged: the C-7 became part of technical history and the type as a whole, although of non-rigid pattern, influenced the next generation of rigid vessels.
The first flight of a ‘C’ class airship took place on 30 September 1918, this and the subsequent five airships being produced by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, where a training establishment and a hydrogen plant had already been set up under contract with the US Navy on 29 May 1917; the 20 trainees in each intake had the advantages of permanent barracks.
The six vessels produced were numbered C-1 to C-8, the omitted designations C-2 and C-6 being used for some reason with C-9 and C- 10 for the quartet of airships of the type ordered from the Goodrich company.
Although the work performed by the ‘C’ class units proved it an outstanding airship design, the type came into use at a time when World War I was near-ing its end, so it is to the design fea-tures of the class that one must look for interest. Most obvious of these was the four-crew streamlined car with an engine and pusher propeller mounted at each side. The C-7’s claim to history rests on a single incident when, on 1 December 1921, it became the first airship in the world to fly with helium substituted for the normal hydrogen lifting gas. The test was so successful that it was decided that henceforth all US airships would use this inert gas as a fire precaution despite the small loss of lift in comparison with that provided by lighter but inflammable hydrogen.
Other records held by the ‘C’ class include its use for the first successful release of an aeroplane from a non-rigid airship, and by becoming the first airship to make a coast-to-coast US crossing, this being achieved by one of the pair that were given over to US Army control in 1921. On the other hand the C-5, earmarked for a pro-jected transatlantic crossing attempt, was lost in a storm when it was ripped from its moorings.
With the end of the war, large contracts for naval airships were cancelled but work continued on various military designs.
Type: coastal patrol and convoy escort airship.
Powerplant: two 149. 1-kW (200-hp) Hall-Scott L-6 eight-cylinder water--cooled piston engines; reports also mention the 11 1.9-kW (150 hp) Wright- Hispano
Maximum speed 97 kph (60 mph)
Service ceiling 2438 m (8,000 ft)
Range about 4828 km (3,000 miles).
Useful lift about 2,404 kg (5,300 lb).
Diameter 12.80 m (42 ft 0 in)
Length 58.52 m (192 ft 0 in)
Volume 5125.3 cu.m (181,000 cu ft)
Armament: one 7.62-mm (0.30-in) Lewis machine-gun.