The first airship to fly over Britain for more than twenty years took off from Cardington, England, on Wednesday (March 8).
GV Airship being brought into position (4 shots)
SCU Engineer securing ship to mast.
SV Engineers around cockpit
SV Rudder ZOOM BACK TO GV airship
SV Airship pilot speaks (SOF STARTS and continues over general shots of airship in flight)
PILOT: "It can be brought down and mastered under some really severe conditions, in fact we could have brought it down in the conditions that prevailed in East Anglia during this time."
INTERVIEWER: "If you were to be blown off course, where could you land this thing?"
PILOT: "Well, actually, the ground crew with the mast and all its mobile equipment accompanies the ship wherever it goes. As you know, or possibly I should say, the ship travels at about forty miles an hour, and actually the ground crew can generally keep up with the ship, and if they can't the ship just holds and waits for them to get the whatever destination is."
INTERVIEWER: "And then they erect the mast and you can land?"
PILOT: "Yes, yes. Takes about forty minutes to put the mast up."
INTERVIEWER: "How safe a vehicle is this, do you think?"
PILOT: "Well we consider it's extremely safe. We've operated those, this type airship in the United States for over thirty years: we've carried over a million people; we've never scratched a single one of them and we feel that inflated with helium, and the ability to float if we have an engine problem makes it extremely safe."
INTERVIEWER: "Helium is a safe gas...."
PILOT: "Oh yes, it's absolutely inert; cannot burn, explode or do anything."
Initials BB/0230 BF/AH/BB/0214
This footage, shot by a BBC film crew, has natural sound throughout.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The first airship to fly over Britain for more than twenty years took off from Cardington, England, on Wednesday (March 8). The maiden flight of the 192 feet (66 metres) long vessel was the start of a scheduled series of test flights before the application is made for an air worthiness certificate.
Named "Europa" the airship is owned by the Goodyear Tyre and Rubber company. It will be used for publicity purposes at exhibitions, aerial surveys, and as a television platform at the Munich Olympics.
SYNOPSIS: "Europa", the first airship to fly over Britain for more than twenty years, was brought out for its maiden flight at Cardington on Wednesday. Built for the Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Company at a cost of over one-million pounds the craft is 192 feet long and can carry fuel for 20 hours flying.
Twenty ground staff manoeuvred Europa around its red and white mooring mast.
The airship will be used for publicity and as a television platform at the Munich Olympic Games. Captain Dick Widdicombe, the pilot spoke of Europa's safety in bad weather.