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Giffard Airship




The first practical airship was the work of Frenchman Henri Gifard who in 1852 constructed a 143 ft long craft. Pointed at both ends and driven by a 3 hp steam engine; weighing, with its boiler, 350 lb and suspended 20 ft below the envelope, driving an 1 ft diameter propeller at 110 rpm to give it a still air speed of 6 mph.
On 14 September 1852 Giffard lifted off from the Hippodrome in Paris and, in near perfect weather conditions, flew 17 miles to Trappes, south of Paris in around 3 hours.



Whilst Giffard was able to effect a degree of control with the triangular sail that performed the function of a rudder in directing his flight, he was unable on this or later flights to either navigate in a circle or return to his starting point due to the low power of the engine.


Engine: 3 hp
Length: 144.357 ft / 44.0 m
Width of hull: 39.37 ft / 12.0 m
Contained volume: 88300 cu.ft / 2500 cu.m
Max. speed: 5 kts / 10 kph
Gross lift: 2500 kg



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