from "The World The Air The Future" - Dennison Burney
recent photos uncovered from the AHT collection have been added
to highlight plans which were being undertaken for the docking
of airships, and how close these plans were progressing in mooring
and Docking Raft advancements:
the same way as a liner requires tugs and capstans to manreuvre
her into a dock, so does an airsh1p, which presents as great an
area to the wind as a liner, want some mechanical equivalent.
During our investigations into this problem, many suggestions
were made, but each proposal was tested by this question: Can
the scheme proposed main- tain a ship in safety, if at any stage
of the operation of taking the ship from the mast and placing
her in the shed, a 40-45 m.p.h. wind shifts 5° degrees in
far, the proposal I shall now describe is the only one that has
passed this test. The general idea under- lying it is simple.
The ship is moored at a mooring mast in the usual way, and as
soon as this has been done, a number of claws are mechanically
operated and clasp the ship firmly about the centre line. When
the ship is securely held in these claws, the whole structure
embracing the mast, claws, and ship, is run into the shed on rails.
details have to be elaborated. The mast must be high to receive
the ship, and low to enter the shed. Therefore it is made telescopic.
The manreuvre of clasping the ship by the claws must be carried
out when the ship is lying head to wind. Therefore the claws are
mounted on a raft which is capable of rotation ; and because the
ship is held by the mast, it follows that the mast must be attached
to the raft.
next question for consideration is, at what part of the ship should
the claws be attached? Again, it is obvious that they must be
attached at that part of the ship that will prevent rolling in
the event of a side gust. Therefore the claws are attached to
strong points along the horizontal of the ship.
next problem to be considered is in connection with the claws.
How are they to be operated? If they are high enough to reach
to the centre line of the ship, and if they are mounted on a raft
which is rotated so as to lie in the same fore and aft line of
the ship, it is obvious that, unless precautions are taken, the
claws will poke a hole in the ships underside.
the claws are made to rotate about the horizontal axis and lie
down flat on the ground, and they only become vertical when the
ship is so restrained that she cannot swing into the claws when
upright. Not only is this done, but a further precaution is taken.
The raft itself carrying the claws is made to open like a pair
of scissors, so that the ship can come to the mast between the
arms of the raft, and be restrained in that position by ropes
running from the claws to the ship.
the ship is securely clasped in the claws, she can be treated
in one of two ways. Either she can be left in the claws in the
open, the raft being rotated so as always to keep the ship head
to the wind, or the raft can be rotated until the ship is in line
with the shed, and then the ship, raft, mast and claws, can be
run as a unit in to the shed. Futhermore, since the claws can
be finally balanced prior to emergence from the shed with a minimum
employment of personnel. To take the vessel out of the shed will,
therefore, require but few men, as nothing has to be done beyond
opening the doors and operating the levers controlling the transporting
mechanism of the raft.
will be realised, of course, t hat although we have a solution
in the mooring and docking raft for putting the ship in into a
shed, we are still faced, in the initial stages of the operation,
with havin to attach the vessel to the mooring point under those
conditions already discribed, in which the vessel has little or
no dynamic control.
provision of tail engines enabling rapid longitudinal control
to be provided in the place of the ordinary elevator control,
which cannot, of course, function under static conditions should,
however render the operation of picking up the the mooring point
much easier than under existing consitions.
weight of the necessary fittings carried in the ship to which
the claws are attached, will amount to three tons or so, and will
involve the increase in the size of the ship to obtain the same
performance as that of a vessel not so fitted.
series of photos have been uncovered showing models of the
planned docking of an airship
1. Ship is linked to mobile mast and pully system attached
2. Ship is winched in to aligment with shed
3. Ship is fully aligned with shed (shown in white on model)
4. Close-up of commection to the ships hull.
5. Connection device (retracted). It unknown whether this
was a connection from the ship or on the guideway