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H.M. Balloon Factory Delta






An Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was formed in 1909, and a small dirigible, the Baby, was completed and flown. At the end of the year the Balloon School was made a separate establishment with Capper at its head, and the Factory became a civilian unit, although still under War Office direction.
The airship Baby had been rebuilt and improved into the larger Beta, and followed by the progressively larger Gamma and Delta. The first product of the newly established Royal Aircraft Factory was the airship Delta, Naval Airship No.19, which had originally been designed in 1911 as a semi-rigid but emerged in 1912 rebuilt as a non-rigid of 175,000 cu.ft capacity. Containd in a rubberised fabric envelope and powered by two 105 hp White and Poppe engines, driving swivel propellers, it was the fastest British airship so far with a top speed of 45 mph.
A short, 28 foot long car and its crew of five were suspended 20 feet below the envelope, the suspension wires being attached to horizontal ropes sewn into the lower portion of the envelope fabric, while simple brace horizontal and vertical steering surfaces were attached at the stern.
With her increased capacity and a gross lift of 4.6 tons she was extensively used for training and wireless telegraphy experiments conducted by Captain H.Lefroy RE in 1912, during which transmissions were clearly picked up at a range of 100 miles.

Both Gamma and Delta took part in further army war games during 1912 and 1913, where they were employed both in reconnaissance and the ‘bombing’ of towns in ‘enemy’ territory providing valuable experience in the effectiveness of this new weapon for troops and general staff alike.



Engines: 1 x White & Poppe, 110 hp
Capacity: 173,000 cu.ft
Length: 198 ft
Width: 41 ft
Height: 65 ft
Gross lift: 4.8 ton
Disposable lift: 1.46 ton
Speed: 44 mph
Range: 8 hr at cruise
Crew: 5





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