Dec. 16, 1929

The R-100 moored in Cardington, England.

Image: Planet News Archive/SSPL/Getty Images

In 1921, the British empire was at its territorial peak, and needed aircraft to reach its distant colonies quickly. It was proposed that two airships be constructed: one by a private company, the “Capitalist” R-100, and one by the British Government Air Ministry, the “Socialist” R-101

The R-100 was designed by Barnes Wallis, who went on to create the “bouncing bomb” for the RAF in World War II. She was constructed in a remote hangar in Yorkshire, England. The design work began in 1925 and she made her maiden flight on Dec. 16, 1929. With a capacity of 100 passengers and 37 crew, the R-100 was propelled by six petrol engines and buoyed by more than 5 million cubic feet of hydrogen. Read more…

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