Welcome listeners of the Wireless Phone Network. This is William Bonifort Reporting for the Wireless Phone Network. Today is the day all the fans of the Airship Races have been waiting for all summer long. The first leg of the Euro/Alliance Airship championship races. This year the starting field has two hundred and fifty starters that made it through the local and national races. Here in the Highlands of Scotland, the Airship crews prepare their vessels for the first leg of the two month long, thirty nation, four Continent race.
The Britain champion, Sir Gerald Riggers the Fourth is preparing his winning ship, the Zeffer, for flight. For those that have never seen it, it is of a design like a normal Airship, but thinner and leaner. His lift bag is as close to the gondola as is safe with a coal burner to produce the steam to drive the engines. His custom piston system is faster and more powerful than those used on the large commercial vessels. His three man crew will race and win for the glory of England once again.
There are six entrants from the Highlands this year, all their vessels follow the more traditional designs so are not as fast or maneuverable as the custom designs. The Conner's and Charles Clans are both being kept well apart this year as they are having a minor inter clan dispute that could lead to violence on the ground. Once in the air though, they are honorable men and will obey the rules of conduct expected of all flyers.
France has fielded twenty flyers this year, all part of a team that has proven tough to beat all around. They form in the air and assist each other with the flight winds. The Ferrari Team will be a challenge to the grand champions of the last few years.
From across the Atlantis we have three flyers from the Alliance States. The Wright Brothers from the Io River State, Henry Ford of the Lakes Motor Carriage Company and a Mister Lincoln of the Continental Airship production company. Mister Lincolns is the largest on the field, over three hundred feet long. We received a report from the interview he gave a day ago that the inside is as plush and elegant as a ship of the sea. That gives thought it is not very fast as it looks heavy to my trained eyes.
The Ford Ship is much smaller and thinner. It looks fast and maneuverable, but will it be able to handle the stresses of the winds they will encounter along the way. It also has a crew of three, the rest of the space is fuel and water.
The Wright flyer is different from anything else on the field. It is silver cloth, an uses a frame inside rather than a balloon above the gondola. So it is the sleekest ship on the field at present. we have heard rumors that they have a new engine design that gives them greater range and power over anything else in current use. Most Airships have one or two propellers in the rear to drive the flyer along. They have eight cylinders along the sides of the ship. I have seen them rotate several times now. If the props are inside those cylinders, then they have an advantage on lift and control while in flight. It also lacks a gondola, the cabin is in the body itself. I can see wide windows at the front of the lifter body where the crew stays.
There is the signal folks, all flyers must be in the air in thirty minutes or be disqualified on the spot. The French team is pulling up their lines and dropping sand over the sides, making ready to lift. Sir Gerald simply pulled a rope, releasing a lead weight and he has leaped into the sky, heading for the starting balloons. The Russian and Prussian racers are also rapidly lifting to the starting line. The Ford Flyer is on it's way now as well. It moves like a fine race horse on the field, ready to show what it can do. The Lincoln is slowly rising, not in a hurry at all it seems. Now the Wright Flyer, they are holding station, all lines pulled in, would you look at that, the inner four cylinders have rotated to the vertical and are pushing the ship straight up. It is rising faster than any airship on the field. They just spun them over and came to a stop in seconds. They are staying back from the starting line a bit, but are ready to go when the cannon fires.