Luftschiffe (was:ebay - Minivac 601, 1st pers. digital computer 1960s)

From: Ward Donald Griffiths III <>
Date: Thu Dec 17 17:03:23 1998

Yes, this is pretty much off topic, but as I said before,
airships were the immediate cause of my getting involved with
computers back in the late 70s when I was fresh out of the
USAF and sick and tired of heavier-than-air equipment.

Hans Franke wrote:
> > > NASA sold (permanently loaned?) several acres of land in Mountain View to
> > > The Computer Museum History Center, so they will be gearing up to finally
> > > build a permanent museum that will open sometime in the middle of the next
> > > decade. It should be a pretty awesome facility once its all complete.
> > As much as I love old computers, I'd rather see that hangar restored
> > for its original purpose. I fell in love with airships _long_ before
> Airships are (maybe) the single greatest thing to have, see,
> touch, whatever. I love them - real ones, Zeppelin stlye, not
> these baloons with engines - But they are no more since almost
> 50 years (the NT doesn't count in my opinion, since it is a
> kind of a bastard - but still the most impessive I have seen
> until today) - I whish I could have lives in the 30's - there
> are a lot of old photographs with Zeppelin ships over Munich
> (and of course also almost any other German city).

Remember, Hans, there were more than a few drawbacks to living
where you are in the 1930s -- and other than DELAG employees,
access to the big airships was pretty much limited to the idle
rich, tickets were expensive.

With technologies developed since the 1930s, the big ships could be
practical again. Aside from the use of helium rather than hydrogen
(whatever the immediate cause, static electricity or sabotage or
whatever, the Hindenberg burned because the US government forbade
the sale of helium to Germany), there have been lots of things
developed since 1937 to make airships that would be better by far
than they were, many of them spinoffs of the heavier-than-air
industry. Stronger, lighter materials both for structure and
envelopes. Electronics and instrumentation (considering how many
ships were destroyed by storms, such as two of the four ships the US
Navy had, just radar is a big help, but things like computerized
trim control and GPS come to mind). Lots of new art on aerodynamic
design even at low speed, lots of that from the automotive industry.
I could build a ship four times the strength and less than half the
tare weight of the Hindenberg from the Hindenberg's blueprints
today, but that wouldn't take into account new structural concepts
that would improve things far more.

That reminds me, I've got to resubscribe to the LTA mailing lists
and see what's been going on lately.
Ward Griffiths <> <>
WARNING:  The Attorney General has determined that Alcohol, Tobacco,
and Firearms can be hazardous to your health -- and get away with it.
Received on Thu Dec 17 1998 - 17:03:23 GMT

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