The Aviation Disaster that Ended an Empire – Episode 178
Todd Curtis, Greg Feith, and John Goglia interview historian and author S.C. “Sam” Gwynne, about his latest book, “His Majesty’s Airship.” The book tells the story of the crash of the British R101 in France in 1930.
The book discusses how the airship R101 was a key part of the British government’s plan to cut by more than half the time it took to travel to distant parts of its empire such as Australia and India. The R101 crashed during its first commercial flight.
The aviation disaster killed 48 people. Among those lost was the commander of the airship, who 11 years before had also been the first person to command an airship on a round trip journey across the Atlantic.
While the Hindenburg disaster is better known, this tale has many intriguing impacts on the evolution of rigid airships and aviation safety.