HoMe PaGe

Aircraft

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A balloon was originally any aerostat, while the term airship was used for large, powered aircraft designs — usually fixed-wing. In 1919 Frederick Handley Page was reported as referring to "ships of the air," with smaller passenger types as "Air yachts. " In the 1930s, large intercontinental flying boats were also sometimes referred to as "ships of the air" or "flying-ships".  — though none had yet been built. The advent of powered balloons, called dirigible balloons, and later of rigid hulls allowing a great increase in size, began to change the way these words were used. Huge powered aerostats, characterized by a rigid outer framework and separate aerodynamic skin surrounding the gas bags, were produced, the Zeppelins being the largest and most famous. There were still no fixed-wing aircraft or non-rigid balloons large enough to be called airships, so "airship" came to be synonymous with these aircraft. Then several accidents, such as the Hindenburg disaster in 1937, led to the demise of these airships. Nowadays a "balloon" is an unpowered aerostat and an "airship" is a powered one.

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