Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lord Bonkers and the Hindenburg disaster

I gather there was a programme about the loss of the Hindenburg on television last night. This seems a good time to repeat Lord Bonkers' comments on airships:

One of the great disappointments of the twentieth century was the failure of the airship to maintain its early promise as a means of mass transportation. I remember with fondness those great ships of an earlier age: the Graf Zeppelin, the R101 and, here in Rutland, The First Lady Bonkers.

The problem that saw the downfall of these graceful galleons of the sky was an uncertainty over what should be used to fill them. Some favoured hydrogen, but it had the unfortunate habit of going off pop at the most inconvenient moments.

The choice therefore fell upon helium, but this gas had the effect of making everyone on board speak in a high-pitched, squeaky voice. I recall that it was this affliction that reduced the effectiveness of the Address to the People of America that I gave in New York upon disembarking from my first flight.

Nevertheless, I did receive a letter, years later, from a chap named Disney who told me that my words had been an inspiration to him throughout his career, so all was not in vain.

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