In 1930, on this day the world's large dirigible the R101 transported the architects of the Imperial Airship Scheme Secretary of State for Air Lord Thomson and his Director of Civil Aviation Sir Sefton Brancker to Karachi where they landed in good time for the opening of the Imperial Conference.
Flight of the R101To ensure that the dignitaries travelled in extravagant luxury considerable risk had been taken in loading the airship with champagne, china, silverware and a huge Axminster carpet. Upon her return to RAF Cardington the Airship Works team discovered that it was a miracle the airship had completed the journey at all. Not only was the structure crippled with rust that was threatening to rip open the gas bags, but worse the nose patching had been repaired rather than replaced at the most vulnerable point. Had sufficient rain poured in, then the airship would surely have entered a fatal nosedive.
The reason for ebullient Brancker wanting to arrive in such style had much to do with impressing the impoverished masses of the city of Karachi. Shortly after the Imperial Conference, Prime Minister Ramsay McDonald paid tribute to the success of the Imperial Airship Scheme by promoting Brancker to the position of Viceroy of India. In that position he was to command a power structure every bit as corrupt and decadent as the R101 which had carried him to India.