I’ve become a great fan of airship history and lore. As captain and creator of the USAS C.E. Rosendahl, accuracy, plausibility and function are all very important to me when creating my floating gas bag based transport. My research has come from various sources; books, the Internet Archive, hundreds of images, real world ships, and hands on experience. I even took up sailing on tall ships to learn more about ship construction, but that’s a story for another day.
A thorough tour of the NASA Image Exchange is in order. A search for “airship”, “Macon”, or “Akron” yields excellent results of science in action. Photos include in-flight, R&D, wind tunnels, and large models.
Lacking ideas? If Airship-builder’s block has set its curse upon you, you can always look up the latest designs in airship attire, imagery and art at Deviant Art. You’ll find more costumes and cosplay than airship construction, but its still an excellent resource.
Related Blogs and Searches
Over at Airships.net, you can find excellent information on the history, misconceptions and stories of airships. The blog also highlights photos and blueprints.
Fings at Flickr has taken the time to scan in or enhance many Archive.org book illustrations, including an additional full-color German airship poster “To South America in 3 Days”.
The Internet Archive is an outstanding website, full of ephemeral films, music, imagery and texts. Their collection of texts includes many old-timey books free of copyright and absolutely packed with photos, ideas, stories, first-hand flight accounts and more.
Zeppelin; The Story of a Great Achievement is a public-domain book from the 1920s. Perhaps more important than the text in the publication is the pictures. Every other page is a delightful picture or schematic of various Zeppelins. This absolutely fantastic book from 1917 features schematics, photos, plans, drawings and a very robust history of airships.
Another fantistic find at the Archive is this amazing book featuring plans, photos, construction blueprints and more. D’Orcy’s airship manual; an international register of airships with a compendium of the airship’s elementary mechanics
Flying machines: past, present, and future. A popular account of flying machines, dirigible balloons and aeroplane from 1914 is an astounding book, listing many different airships and balloons, and is deliciously full of photos, blueprints and plans. The back of the book even lists a (then) current list of suppliers and resources for all things electrical, gas, construction and airship so you can build your own! Many airships-attached-to-boats are also illustrated, which is the way I’ve done with the Rosendahl.
If you’re working on an airship of your own (real or imagined), please post a link in the comments!