HC Deb 04 June 1930 vol 239 cc2142-4
35. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air what is the cost of the design contract for the new airship that has been given out; and whether this will involve a supplementary Estimate?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for AIR (Mr. Montague)

In answer to the first part of the question, the contract is not for the elaboration of a complete new airship design but for the employment of a technical staff partly to investigate possible detail improvements in the design of R.100 and partly to discover what improvements and modifications to the R.100 type of airship would be necessary, if it were decided to build an airship of capacity greater than five million cubic feet. There is a limit of £2,000 a month to the payments under the contract; expenditure to date is £7,800. The answer to the second part of the question is in the negative; provision for this service is made in Air Estimates, 1730, Vote 3 N.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Does that mean that this staff is not designing another great new airship?


It means exactly what I have said in my reply. There is no design of a new airship, because a new airship has not been authorised.


Is it contemplated to design a new airship of 5,000,000 cubic feet?


No; the word "contemplated" is not appropriate. The matter is one of policy, which must be decided some time in the future. In the meantime, it is desirable to keep the technical staff in being.

36. Mr. L. SMITH

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether the delay in the departure of the R.100 to Canada is to any extent due to the mooring mast in Canada not being suitable for the purpose for which it was intended; and whether any alterations are being made to the nose of the airship in consequence?


The answer to both parts of the question is in the negative; the postponement of the flight to Canada is entirely due to the failure of the tail fairing piece of the R.100 is explained in my reply to the hon. Members for Denbigh (Dr. Morris-Jones) and Willesden, East (Mr. D. G. Somerville) on 28th May.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air when Airship R.100 will commence her flight to Canada; and what programme is being arranged for Airship R.101?


It is hoped that R.100 will be ready for her flight to Canada towards the end of this month or the beginning of July. While her sister ship is in Canada, R.101 will carry out some experimental flying in this country and will then be put back in her shed for the insertion of the extra bay. When the extra bay has been installed, R.101 will undertake her experimental flight to India; I am not in a position to name a, precise date for this flight.


Can the hon. Gentleman say when the visit of Members of this House to this airship is likely to take place?


I answered a question of that kind some time ago, to the effect that it would probably be in July. I do not know anything different.


Will the R.100 take the Lord Privy Seal to Canada?


Is a new bay being built at the present time?


Some minor modifications are being done at Cardington. I do not know that a new bay has actually been commenced.