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Podcast: The final flight of the ‘airship of dreams’

written by Robyn Tongol | June 5, 2024

It was meant to be the crowning achievement of the budding British airship industry: R101, a majestic “ocean liner of the skies” that would ferry passengers all across the world in style and comfort.

Yet on its maiden international flight in October 1930, the dreams of an empire went up in flames as R101 crashed and exploded in a field in the north of France. On board was one Australian VIP: William Palstra, a key figure in the early days of the RAAF.

The tragic demise of R101 with all but six hands led to the UK pulling out of the airship arena – and left an indelible mark on Palstra’s family for generations afterwards.

On this episode of the Australian Aviation Podcast, Cecilia Thornton, author of Airship of Dreams: The Man Who Rode the Titanic of the Skies, talks to Jake Nelson about the disaster that claimed her grandfather’s life and spelled the end of the British airship age.


You can also listen to the show on your device by clicking here

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