Girder, from airship R 34

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made at Inchinnan, near Glasgow

Postcard of Girder, from airship R 34.
© National Museums Scotland

Girder, from airship R 34

This aluminium alloy girder is from the airship R 34, which completed the first-ever double Atlantic crossing by air. Manned by an RAF crew, it flew from East Fortune in East Lothian to Long Island in New York and then back again in July 1919. The airship was constructed during 1918 for the Admiralty by William Beardmore and Company Limited of Inchinnan near Glasgow.

The R-34 was a rigid airship - the 19 gas envelopes, made of goldbeater's skins, were inflated between aluminium sections with girders running longitudinally, giving the airship its cigar shape. The airship was covered entirely by an Irish linen covering which was doped to provide tautness. The girder section is made of lightweight aluminium and comprises parallel beams joined by diagonal cross bars. The entire airship structure would have consisted of girders of this kind.

The R 34's considerable achievement in completing the first-ever double Atlantic crossing by air did not receive much publicity at the time: it was overshadowed by the first non-stop Atlantic flight in June 1919 by Alcock and Brown, who flew a converted Vickers 'Vimy' bomber from Newfoundland to Ireland.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-004-363-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1926.14.1
Date: 1918
Material: Aluminium alloy girder
What: Sample / aluminium girder, airship
Subject: 1. AERONAUTICS, Airships (Departmental Classification)
Who: R 34 (airship)
Event: Crossing of the Atlantic by the airship R 34
Description: Specimen of aluminium alloy girder from the airship R 34 which crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1919
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