developement of the Skyship 500 lead to the release
of the successful "sister ship", the Skyship 600.
500 model had proved to be very successful in a
very short time, and it was always intended to prove
bigger ships, the new Skyship 600 was to show that
bigger is better.
Skyship 600 emerging
from Cardington shed 1
Plan of the Skyship
Skyship 600 Plan
of Skyship 600
of Skyship 600
Skyship 600 scale
compared to a 744 and the R101
the demand for more airships, the designers at Airship
Industries agreed that an new ship was required with alarger
payload capacity. It was agree that the original design
of the ship was indeed very sound, and so with a few simple
alterations, the Skyship 500 design was enhanced to become
the new Skyship 600. There had always been a plan to "grow"
the fleet of ships and provide larger enveloped ships,
with more capabilities and an expanded operational focus.
The key changes and benefit was that with to offer a greater
payload, the airship benifitted from an advantage in physics
over heavier than aircraft. The extension of the envelope
by some 30% would give an increase in lift by 50%. This
could be use
Skyship 600 was born. With an increased payload, the main
role of the ship, passenger trips, could be enhanced by
the ability to carry more passengers. The gondola enhanced
by streching the original design and adding three round
windows at the back of the main cabin.
accommodation increaded to carry up to 18 passengers in
comfort and crew. With the ability to not only carry more
passengers on a Skycruise but to also carry more “multi-role”
tasks, the 600 was in demand. Even though the ship now
carried more wieght, it's performance matched that of
the 500 by the two porche engines benifitting from being
Passenger Layout - Skyship 600
The Skycruise tours were so
successful, Airship Industries operated a scheduled air
service over the major cities of the world. However the
multi role aspect of the airship was accepted. With all
of the ships benifitting from such a large envelope the
aerial advertising revenue was a good benifit for the
company, however this was not their main role.
were used for scheduled passenger flights over many capitals
of the world, the airborne coastal surveillance was an
additional role. The airships were also seen as very stable
and enduring camera platforms used by many television
companies for boradcasting of major events. Unike helicoptors,
the airship provide a durable, low noise, vibration free
platform for broadcasters.
Skyship 600 (600-1 registration G-SKSC) took to the skies
with a maiden flight in March 1984, and a second ship
(600-2 registration VH-HAA) was launched in September
Shore Configuration - Skyship 600 - Marine
Government interest in the airship
grew as they were proving a reliable and cheaper alternative
to existing facilites. Thier low cost, long flying durations
and stability as aerial platforms were becoming more attractive
for fisheries protection, and surveillance.Important trials
were carried out with the French Navy and American Government
during the 1980’s.
600 was adapted with a winch system in the gondola whereby
the ship sucessfully lowered and recovered a small maritime
patrol boat. This
was seen as a great success in the role of the airship
being able to operate in a multitude of enviroments.
The Skyship 500 & 600 can still be seen today, 20
years after the initial prototype took off. In 1988 the
600 series were distributed throughout the world. Many
of them are re-fitted and still in operation today operated
by many airship management companies.
enhancements to the Skyship 600 - December 2002
23rd 2002 the FAA certified the apty named "Santos-Dumont",
new Skyship 600, with Lycoming engine propulsion system.
Based out of Elizabeth City N.C the ship operated by Airship
Management Services was launched with new outfitted with
Textron Lycoming IO-540 engines, a vectorable thrust outboard
propulsion system that required a Supplemental Type Certificate.
FAA officials awarded the Supplemental Type Certificate
(STC) following a series of flight performances on Skyship
Textron Lycoming IO-540 twin outboard vectorable thrust
mounted in swiveling, ducted fans, and each produce 300
hp. They replace the original Porsche 930 turbine inboard
engines of 255 hp that have powered the Skyship 600 series
since its introduction in 1985.
The new propulsion system enhances the aircraft's capability
for hovering and holding station; facilitates faster takeoffs,
quicker response in landings, and boosts overall in-flight
airship was named in honor of Alberto Santos-Dumont, the
Brazilian aviation pioneer who won the Deutsch Prize in
Paris by becoming the first to fly a dirigible in controlled
flight around the Eiffel Tower more than 100 years ago
(in 1901) and who later introduced powered fixed-wing
flight to Europe.
Outfitted with a new envelope from TCOM L.P., "Santos-Dumont"
made its maiden test flight on January 18 of 2002.
600 G-SKSC was active from March 1984 to the closure
of the business in September 1990. The ship was
used for certification of the 600 series, and flew
trials with the French Navy in November 1984.
The ship was used to operative Skyship tours with
G-B1HN and also advertising contracts. G-SKSC was
also damaged in the same gales as G-B1HN and also
highlighted a design flaw: when moored up in strong
winds the envelope stretched lenghways and after
a while sprang backwards, causing the batons which
laced the nose cone to the envelope, dig on to the
envelope and eventually puncture it and let the
wind split the envelope from end to end.
G-SKSC was rebuilt with a new envelope and made
the final Airship Industries flight in 1990. After
the administrators were called in the team at Airship
Industries persuaded them to allow joyrides
to continue at Cardington to sell the company as
a going concern. This formula was continued for
a month until the company finally went in to liquidation.
600 G-SKSD made one two hour flight only, in September
1985, and can be seen in the famous photo of 3 Skyships
flying together, which was the only time the three
ships flew together in the UK.
G-SKSC was assembled in March 1984 at Cardington,
and the G-SKSD's enveolpe was inflated under a net
where it remained for some time as there was no
money to complete it.
spent the best part of two years as a hanger queen
with the envelope inflated under a net and the gondola
on a trolley underneath, the Bond Corporation, who
then owned Airship Industries wanted to start their
Australian operation, and so the ship was completed
and flown once to get a Certificate of Airworthiness,
then dismantled and shipped to Australia.
Currently, Skyship 600s are the largest and most comfortable
passenger-carrying airships in the world, offering a spacious
cabin with abundant headroom, windows that open in flight,
first class seating, a galley for serving food and beverages,
and a lavatory.
have the highest rated payload capacity available today
and have proven their reliability all over the world.