Sentinel 1000

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Sentinel 1000 (from English sentinel , guardian) was the latest impact airship development in the Skyship series at the beginning of the 1990s and at the time of its operation the largest airship in the world. The prototype was destroyed by a fire in the airship hangar .


Sentinel 1000 was a further development of the SkyShip 600 and was intended as a medium-sized airship to gain experience for the Sentinel 5000 program, which was planned in the early 1990s. The Westinghouse Electric Corporation (later Westinghouse Airship Industries (WAI)), which worked with the British Airship Industries, played a key role .

The maiden voyage took place on June 26, 1991, the type certification by the FAA in November 1993.

The NASP program

In the 1980s, the US Navy carried out the so-called NASP program ( US Navy Airship Program ). The aim was to develop an early warning airship which, in contrast to ship radar, could also detect fast, very low approaching cruise missiles in good time. Goodyear's contribution was based on the design of the AEW airship type ZPG-3W , which was manufactured for the US Navy at the end of the 1950s, and produced the first turboprop airship, the Spirit of Akron , as a test vehicle . However, the order went to Westinghouse Airship Industries , which then also developed a technology platform with the Sentinel 1000 . A dummy was built from the gondola of the originally planned Sentinel 5000 radar carrier . The program was canceled in 1996 after budget cuts.

Sentinel 1000

The gondola corresponded to that of the Skyship 600 . The 6-cylinder turbo engines Porsche 930/67 , each with 220 kW (300 PS), also used there, were used as drive . The much larger envelope had been lengthened 9.14 m (30 ft) in length and 1.52 m (5 ft) in diameter, increasing the volume of the lifting gas by 2,500 cubic meters. The available payload was 2704 kg (5962 lbs). In order to be able to absorb the additional mass on landing, the ship was equipped with two additional landing gear legs , which now resulted in a three-point landing gear . The tail unit was changed from the horizontal / vertical arrangement to an X-shaped arrangement, as was already common in the US naval airships in the 1950s and 1960s . In the airships, for example, there was more leeway at the stern if the nose was raised during take-off.

Sentinel 1000 was one of the first regularly deployed aircraft to have a fly-by-light control.

In 1994 the ship carried out test drives for the US military, which tested its suitability as a surveillance airship - equipped with radar equipment, among other things . At the end of August 1994 the first 24-hour test was completed.

Destruction in the fire in the airship hangar

In the early morning hours of August 3, 1995, "Airdock # 2" - the airship hangar in Weeksville / USA, in which the ship was built and housed - was destroyed by a fire. This happened during the repair of the bearings for the gates. The time of destruction of the WAI Sentinel 1000 is given as 12:55 a.m. The total damage from the fire was estimated at 100 million US dollars.

The airship hangar in Weeksville in the US state of North Carolina was the largest wooden structure in the world at the time . It was half a mile long (about 800 m), about 91 m wide and about 58.5 m high. The 180 t heavy gates ran on rails. It was built in 1942 and was the base of the US Marine Airship Squadron ZP-14, which was then supposed to protect the coast from enemy German submarines. In 1966 the disused hall was sold to Westinghouse. Well-known advertising airships such as Bud One , Fuji and Met Life were built in it.

Sentinel 1000 was not rebuilt or rebuilt after its destruction. However, the Airship Management Service , which operates the airships of the SkyShip fleet, continued to offer the construction of a Sentinel 1000 airship if interested parties were found.

Technical data

  • Cruising speed: 100 km / h
  • Top speed: 105 km / h
  • Drive power 441 kW
  • Payload 3600 kg
  • Travel altitude: approximately 300-1200 m (1000-4000 ft)
  • Summit altitude: 2,440 m (8,000 ft)
  • Length: 68 m
  • Height: 20.16 m
  • Width: 16.67 m
  • Volume: 10024 cubic meters of helium
  • Fuel: AVGAS 100 LL
  • gondola
    • Length: 11.6 meters
    • Width: 2.6 meters
    • Height: 1.9 meters
  • Cover material: polyester with external Tedlar coating
  • Operational staff: a total of 25 people including pilot, mechanic, ground crew ...

See also


  • JK Bock, B. Knauer: Lighter than air. Transport and carrier systems. Verlag Frankenschwelle, Hildburghausen 2003, ISBN 3-86180-139-6 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. accessed on January 3, 2017
  2. ^ A b New Westinghouse Airship Designed For Early Warning, Surveillance Missions; Aviation Week and Space Technology; Issue of June 8, 1991 pages 24 and 25; (online behind the registration barrier in the archive ); accessed on October 15, 2016
  3. a b c Burning ambition - A towering inferno and pending Pentagon funding decisions place airship production on an uncertain course. ; FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL; Issue from November 29 to December 5, 1995 pages 36 and 37; online as PDF-S.36 and PDF-S.37
  4. a b US Navy considers AEW airship options; FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL; Issue of November 29, 1986 page 12; online as PDF
  5. a b US Navy awards NASP contract; Flight International, June 20, 1987 edition; Page 29; online as PDF , accessed on December 31, 2016.
  6. Peter Kleinheins: The large zeppelins. The history of airship construction. 3. Edition. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York 2005, ISBN 3-540-21170-5, Chapter 17; Page 261