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Wellman America
Wellman airship “America” seen from Trent 1910
A 108 foot long semi-rigid airship of 200,000 cu.ft was built in 1907 in Paris for journalist-adventurer Walter Wellman and the engineer Melvin Vaniman. This airship, the America, powered by two 50 hp engines, was shipped to Spitsbergen the same year for an attempt on the North Pole, but was forced to return after only a few hours’ flight with engine trouble.
Originally the 1906 Godard-designed, French-built polar exploration airship, the “America” had already been rebuilt and enlarged twice by the time it was lost at sea. It was lost at sea in 1910 due to engine failure during an attempted transatlantic crossing. Walter Wellman, aero-pioneer Melvin Vaniman, four crewmen (and one ship's cat) were recovered by RMS Trent near Bermuda 72 hours and 1000 miles into the Trans-Atlantic voyage; no losses.
Rescue of the “America” photographed from the SS Trent on October 18, 1910




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