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Brighton Chitty Bang Bang
 
Chitty-Bang
 
The semi-rigid airship, whose appearance was designed by Ken Adam, was an approximate replica of a 1904 Lebaudy airship for the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It was intended to represent the airship of Baron Bomburst of Vulgaria. Although fictional in inspiration, it was a fully functional flying airship.
 
Vulgaria, and the airship, is drawn from Roald Dahl's screenplay for the film, rather than Ian Fleming's original book.
The airship was built in 1967 by Malcolm Brighton. It was only the second British airship to be built post-war, the first being the Airship Club's 1951 Bournemouth. It was also the first British airship to be mainly filled with helium rather than hydrogen, though it was topped up with hydrogen.
 
The envelope was symmetrical fore-and-aft and short and deep compared to typical rigid airships, with pointed ends above the centre of the envelope that gave it the distinctive Lebaudy "hooked" appearance. The gondola was a long open truss structure beneath this and a crew basket beneath, with the typical Lebaudy feature of cruciform control surfaces at the rear of the gondola.
 
The ends of the airship envelope were coloured with bands of the Vulgarian tricolor: black and purple on white. The flanks were adorned with a large black griffin, the arms of Vulgaria.
 
The envelope was 112 feet long, with a width of 30 feet and height of 44 feet, giving a volume of 37,000 cubic feet (1,000 m3). A single Volkswagen Beetle engine of 40 hp drove two two-bladed propellers. First flying in 1967, the small Lebaudy control surfaces made the airship difficult to control in pitch.
 
Only the one was ever built.
 
On one flight by Malcolm Brighton and Derek Piggott the airship collided with two sets of high-voltage power wires, causing much damage. Soon after it was repaired, a freak storm tore the point of attachment of the mooring ropes, destroyed it totally.
 
 
 
 
 


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