Goodyear Type F / ‘B’ Class
It was in 1915 that the US Navy took on charge its first non-rigid coastal patrol airship, a type that was based on the information coming out of Germany and built by the Connecticut Aircraft Company as the DN-1. The ‘B’ class which followed the failure of this first design was more closely based on that of British airships used for similar work, the first orders going to Goodyear on 14 March 1917 for 9 B-Class airships of 77,000 cu ft (Goodyear Type F and FA). However in all fairness it should be said that the ‘B’ class was in no way conceived as a replacement for the earlier type, which had in fact not flown when de-sign work had begun on the Goodyear.
Although the ‘B’ class shared some of the British features, such as the use of an aeroplane fuselage as its car, there were differences such as the absence of an upper fin, though some ‘B’ class vessels did have this feature. There were several other differences between individual airships within the same class. The company's first complete airship, BA, was delivered on July 19, 1917. This contract was followed by others for C and D-Class ships.
Further variations took place after the first nine examples (B-1 to B-9) had been built by Goodyear, production then being undertaken by the B. F. Goodrich Co. The earlier airships had employed the finger-patch method of fastening the car lines to the envelope, which measured 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in) in diameter, and 48.77 m (160 ft 0 in) in length, but the ‘B’ class from B-10 to B-14 were longer and of greater girth.
It is interesting to note that the later variants (of which two only were built by Connecticut) were the shortest of all but with a greater diameter envelope, and that the belly-bands which had replaced the finger-patches on the Goodrich were retained.
The B-10, in common with others of its class, proved a sound and reliable vessel; the two-man crew were fairly comfortably accommodated in the individual cockpits of the suspended fuselage, on which the landing gear had been replaced by rigidly-mounted air-filled flotation bags.
The B-10 was among the first batch of Goodyear/Goodrich vessels which were delivered between June 1917 and July of the following year, the former date marking something of a record since the first of the ‘B’ class had made its maiden flight at the end of May, only two weeks after the declaration of war on Germany by the United States. The total number of vessels of this type delivered was only 16, but three were later reconstructed and given new numbers B-17 to B-19. The final B-20 was sufficiently different, with increased gas capacity and an OXX-3 motor, to be considered a new design.
The Goodyear B-20 had an increased cubic capacity, and the rope lines of earlier models were replaced by cable. Three fins were fitted instead of the five of the early variants, although the car with its typical Avro 504-type lines was unchanged.
Type: coastal patrol airship
Powerplant: one 74. 6-kW (100-hp) Curtiss OXX-2 eight-cylinder water-C cooled piston engine
Maximum speed 80 kph (50 mph)
Service ceiling 2134 m (7,000 ft)
Endurance about 16 hours.
Useful lift about 2268 kg 1 (5,000 lb)
Diameter 10.06 m (33 ft 0 in)
Length 50.90 m (167 ft 0 in)
Volume 2265.3 cu.m (80,000 cu ft)
Armament: one or two 7.62-mm (0.30-in) Lewis machine-guns.