HC Deb 28 May 1930 vol 239 cc1285-7

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he will state the nature and cause of the recent damage to R 100 and when she will be able to undertake her proposed cruise to Canada?


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he can make any statement as to the result of the trial flight for R 100; whether it has received any damage; and when it is proposed that it should make its flight to Canada?


The trial flight of R 100 was undertaken mainly to test the new engines installed for the Atlantic flight and the modifications to the outer cover wiring arrangements. The test was quite satisfactory as regards the engines, but on arrival at Cardington it was seen that the tail fairing piece, which is intended to improve the flow of air at the tail of the airship, was buckled, and subsequent inspection showed also that in one bay, behind one of the power cars, the force of the slipstream had damaged the cover and the securing wires and tapes. The failure of the fairing piece is due to its having been built of too light a gauge, and it will now be reconstructed in material of heavier gauge and with additional stiffening. The damage to the outer cover will be remedied by inserting intermediate girders in this bay, a method which has proved successful in other bays where trouble has been experienced. Although the damage was of a minor nature, and those on board the airship were unaware of it, the repair will take a little time, the new material having to be specially manufactured. Consequently, it has been necessary to postpone the flight to Canada until the end of June or beginning of July next.


In view of such information as this, will the hon. Gentleman assure the House that no further sums will be spent on these costly and useless machines?


It is quite impossible for me to assure the House on a matter of policy which has not yet been decided.


Can the hon. Gentleman give any idea of the cost of this repair?


In actual figures, no, but it will be comparatively slight.


Is it the policy of the Government to go on indefinitely pouring out money for these useless and costly machines?

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Was not the original programme for eight of these airships at one time?

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