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The R100 story

His Majesty's Airship R100 was a privately designed and built British rigid airship made as part of a two-ship competition to develop a commercial airship service for use on British Empire routes as part of the Imperial Airship Scheme. The other airship, the R101, was built by the British Air Ministry, but both airships were funded by the Government.

R100 was built by the Airship Guarantee Company, a specially created subsidiary of the armaments firm Vickers-Armstrongs, led by Commander Dennis Burney.

The design team was headed by Barnes Wallis, later famous for his invention of the bouncing bomb. The design team also included Nevil Shute Norway as the senior stress engineer (see Slide Rule).[Note 1]

R100 first flew in December 1929. It made a series of trial flights and a successful return crossing of the Atlantic in July–August 1930, but following the crash of R101 in October 1930 the Imperial Airship Scheme was terminated and R100 was broken up for scrap.