Rivals in the sky : the developmental relationship between the airship and the airplane.


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On May 6, 1937, the Hindenburg exploded. In the popular mind, this catastrophe ended the long reign of the rigid airship. In actuality, realistic prospects for the widespread use of the airship ceased in 1918 with the end of the First World War. Airplanes and seaplanes quickly moved from experimental models to commercial and military dominance. While the two systems of flight started at about the same time, the airplane evolved into the most prolific method of aerial travel in North America, Europe, South America, Australia, and Asia. The rigid airship continued to struggle for an existence in long-distance passenger transportation and science, but after World War I no more than four were ever flying at any one time while airplanes numbered in the thousands and spanned the globe.



Airship. Airplane. Aeroplane.