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Airship Terminology

BLIMP There are several different accounts about the origin of the word blimp. The story that seems to be preferred by airship experts is that Lieutenant A. D. Cunningham of Great Britain's Royal Naval Air Service originally coined the name. Legend has it that while conducting an inspection, he flipped the envelope of Airship SS-12 with his thumb and the tightly stretched fabric made a strange noise. Imitating the sound that came from the airship, he cried out "Blimp!" and the name stuck.

ENVELOPE is the jargon term for the gas-tight outer skin, or covering, of airships.

GONDOLA OR CONTROL CAR are the names for the structure that houses the pilot, crew and passengers. In some airships, this facility is inside the envelope.

NACELLES are the housings that contain the engines. In some airships, the engines were inside the envelope and the propellers were driven by belts.