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Comment: Re:I bet they are using hydrogen (Score 1) 192

by Foxwell (#12310814) Attached to: Sanswire Demonstrates First Stratellite
I mentioned a study that proved that the skin of the Hindenburg was _not_ a firetrap, but was actually quite difficult to set afire at all, and burned with only a mild flame.

Here it is.

That's
http://www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues/2004 -12-17/pro ject1/index.html

Clearly the Hindenburg burned by hydrogen fire, and the skin was almost totally irrelevent, as all common sense and the best expert minds gathered immediately to analyze the disaster have always agreed.

Are you aware of the many other hydrogen lifted airship fires? Ever heard of the US Army's semirigid Roma? The R-38 that the US Navy was buying from Britain that we designated the ZR-2? The deaths by fire of almost the entire complement aboard R101 _after_ it gently crashed, with no known injuries of anyone aboard, near Beuvais, France? The Dixemude, which apparently exploded in mid-air one day over the Mediterranian, probably because the French Government would not pay for new gas cells or an adequate hydrogen supply to maintain minimal necessary gas purity? There are many others. It is quite true that many hydrogen lifted airships did _not_ burn, but this merely shows that care was taken, not that the ships were safe.

In what way can helium's "risks" be said to be comparable to hydrogen's? Helium does not burn under any circumstances! In what way could hydrogen possibly be prevented from posing any risk of fire?

Here's a freebie for you. Possibly the Hindenburg disaster might have been prevented if there were better forced draft circulation of air from the interior to the outside. The ship "prevented" fires in part by flushing the air inside in case there were small leaks--but the system relied on motion through the air to drive it, and the fire occured during mooring, when airspeed had dropped to a crawl.

But by no means could you prevent all risk of those thin gas cells being set alight, and once that happened, a chain reaction burning all of them would be inevitable. All you can do is reduce the risk, and claim that the chances of disaster are acceptably small compared to the benefits offered by the airship. If I knew helium was not available, I might ride in your hydrogen lifted ship, but most people would very reasonably ask, why not take an airplane or a helicopter even, instead? And why should they risk your dream airship crashing down on them in flames?

If a helium airship is wrecked, it is kind of embarrasing--and to be honest, people have been killed. Descending helium ship wreckage _might_ do some damage. But hydrogen ship wreckage from the same disaster would be plummeting down in flames, with no lift gas to cushion the fall either.

What is your trip against helium, anyway?

"Falling in love makes smoking pot all day look like the ultimate in restraint." -- Dave Sim, author of Cerebrus.

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