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Goodyear RS-1
The first semi-rigid airship designed and built in the United States, the RS-1 project was initiated in 1922 and became a joint effort of the Air Service and the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company of Akron. Ohio. It was designed by Goodyear engineer and inventor, Herman Theodore Kraft. A contract was signed with Goodyear on 13 October 1922 and actual construction was started at the Goodyear facility in Ohio in 1923.
The ship used helium as a lifting medium and power was by four 300 hp Liberty 12 engine. There were two power cars, each having a pair of engines driving a single 17 ft 6 in propeller through a transmission designed and built specifically for the RS-1. The contract to build the transmission was given to Goodyear along with one to built the airship itself.
Goodyear subcontracted the transmission to the Twin Disc Clutch Co of Racine, Wisconsin. The design work was done by Thomas Farwick. Three units were built, one for testing and use for any refinements required, and two for installation in the RS-1. The first unit was delivered to McCook Field and passed is 50 hr test in the Summer of 1925. The remaining two units were delivered directly to Goodyear.
The design provided 12 to 5 reduction gearing to a single 17 ft 6 in propeller being driven by either two 300 hp Liberties or by a single one. The transmission could reverse the direction of the propeller but one engine had to be disengaged during the operateion. Either or both engines could be disengaged by its own disk clutch.
The engines were mounted in staggered form. Each had its own disengaging clutch. One drove a transmission input through a short shaft and the ther through one long enough to clear its adjacent engine.
The ship was delivered to Scott Field in early 1925 where it was erected. A 35 ft (10.7 m) enclosed control car is suspended from the keel at the nose. Equipment included a bombing cockpit and the ability to carry 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) of bombs, as well as mounts for machine guns on each side at the forward end of the car.
Along the belly of the envelope is an enclosed aluminium alloy keel, suspended by catenary cables, which attach to the three points of the keel at 10-ft. intervals. The load coming on the centre catenary gives the envelope a heartshape transverse cross-section, of which the greatest dimensions are 66.5 ft by 73 ft high. The envelope is divided into four compartments by transverse diaphragms. The centre diaphragm is a solid wall, while the end ones have surge holes near the bottom in the gas and air compartments.
It was inflated and subjected to numerous tests and was taken on its maiden flight. The first flight was delayed due to a mistake made by a rigger during erection and eventually took place on 8 January 1926, lasting just over an hour with a crew of eight men.
On its initial trial flight, on January 8, it made a successful trip of over an hour's duration in a mild snowstorm, carrying a crew of eight men and with Lieut. Orval Anderson in charge. During a subsequent test flight the RS-1 encountered extremely bumpy flying conditions and winds that at times exceeded 50 mph. After a flight of 19 hours' duration, however, the RS-1 was landed at its home base in a high ground wind without mishap, the personnel rendering a favourable report of the ship's entire performance.
13 May 1926
In 1927 the Liberty engines were replaced by 2A-1500 Packard engines. The Packards were lighter by about 150 lbs. The normal rating of the Packards was 500 hp at 2000 rpm and 600 hp at 2500 rpm. The props were replaced with 16 ft diameter.
Four airships on the ground (USS Akron, USS Los Angeles, Goodyear RS-1, Pony Blimp)
The airship was taken out of service in November 1928 because of envelope porosity pending its replacement, but because of economic conditions, a new envelope was never installed and the airship was eventually scrapped.
Engines: 4 x Liberty 12, 300 hp / 220 kW
Capacity: 719,500 cu.ft / 20,000 m3
Length: 282 ft / 85.95 m
Diameter: 70 ft 6 in / 21.49 m
Width: 74 ft 6 in
Height: 66 ft
Max speed: 75 mph+ / 121 km/h / 65 kn
Cruise speed: 45 mph / 72 km/h / 39 kn
Useful load: 12,138 lb
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