Sunday, 16 March 1913

This post is part of a series post-blogging the phantom airship scare of 1913. See here for an introduction to the series, and here for a conclusion.

The Observer's aeronautical correspondent, Charles C. Turner, C. Av., appears to be unpersuaded that the phantom airships aren't real (p. 15):

While the rumours of airship visits were discredited and unsupported, it was amusing to follow the elaborate arguments put forward to show how impossible it was for airships to cross the North Sea to Yorkshire. Hard upon these explanations, of course, came the reports of two steamer commanders and their officers, evidence which it is rather difficult to [refuse?]. Some writers omitted the necessary precaution of glancing at a map of Europe: they would have seen that it is no farther from Cuxhaven to Yorkshire than it is from Hamburg to Sheerness, and that the distance is within the compass of the endurance of several German airships. Again, it was assumed by these writers that it was necessary for the whole voyage to be completed during the hours of darkness! But why? And moreover, we now have the evidence of the sea-captains who saw an airship by daylight.

By 'the reports of two steamer commanders and their officers', Turner is presumably referring to the airship sightings from the City of Leeds and the Othello, but these both took place at night, so what 'the evidence of the sea-captains who saw an airship by daylight' might be is not clear.

Supposing there had been an easterly wind of 30 miles per hour on the occasion of one of these visits, and that the speed of the ship was say, 45 miles per hour. That would mean a journey to England completed in, at most, four hours while the home journey would occupy, say, 26 hours. No very difficult performance.

No very easy one, either, though.

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