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H.M. Balloon Factory R38 / ZR2




First flown on June 28, 1921, R38 was the largest airship in the world to be built as yet, with a length of 694 ft and a diameter of 85 ft. She was to have been supplied to the US Navy under the designation ZR2. Her last test flight began on August 23, 1921. When over Hull, without warning, she buckled, broke in two and plunged in flames into the River Humber, 44 of the 49 men on board perished in the tragedy. Among them was Air Commodore Maitland and sixteen men from the US Navy training with her. Subsequent to the loss of the R101 in 1930 the British Airship Programme was abandoned.


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